- one of the thin, narrow, shaped pieces of wood that form the sides of a cask, tub, or similar vessel.
- a stick, rod, pole, or the like.
- a rung of a ladder, chair, etc.
- a verse or stanza of a poem or song.
- the alliterating sound in a line of verse, as the w-sound in wind in the willows.
- Music. staff1(def 10).
- to break in a stave or staves of (a cask or barrel) so as to release the wine, liquor, or other contents.
- to release (wine, liquor, etc.) by breaking the cask or barrel.
- to break or crush (something) inward (often followed by in).
- to break (a hole) in, especially in the hull of a boat.
- to break to pieces; splinter; smash.
- to furnish with a stave or staves.
- to beat with a stave or staff.
- to become staved in, as a boat; break in or up.
- to move along rapidly.
- stave off,
- to put, ward, or keep off, as by force or evasion.
- to prevent in time; forestall: He wasn't able to stave off bankruptcy.
Origin of stave
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for staving
When push comes to shove, the pressure of staving off Ghana, Portugal, and Germany fell on Howard.Team USA Lost, but Tim Howard Is a Winner
July 1, 2014
Which is exactly how I plan on staving off boredom this Yom Kippur.Creative Cures for Your Yom Kippur Boredom
September 11, 2013
Yes, Lizzy, I know it, but I had been staving off this hour for many and many a year.Davenport Dunn, Volume 2 (of 2)
Charles James Lever
He was staving drunk, and went forward, as I thought, to get up his anchor.The Yacht Club
A stick fell plump upon the bottom of the tub, staving it in.The Backwoodsmen
Charles G. D. Roberts
Lucy had only been staving off the unpleasantness she had to speak.The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, Complete
Now these dispositions were reversed; the mover was for decision—they for staving it off.Thirty Years' View (Vol. I of 2)
Thomas Hart Benton
- any one of a number of long strips of wood joined together to form a barrel, bucket, boat hull, etc
- any of various bars, slats, or rods, usually of wood, such as a rung of a ladder or a crosspiece bracing the legs of a chair
- any stick, staff, etc
- a stanza or verse of a poem
- Britishan individual group of five lines and four spaces used in staff notation
- another word for staff 1 (def. 9)
- (often foll by in) to break or crush (the staves of a boat, barrel, etc) or (of the staves of a boat) to be broken or crushed
- (tr usually foll by in) to burst or force (a hole in something)
- (tr) to provide (a ladder, chair, etc) with a stave or staves
- (tr) Scot to sprain (a finger, toe, etc)
Word Origin and History for staving
"piece of a barrel," 1750, back-formation from staves (late 14c.), plural of staff (cf. leaves/leaf), possibly from Old English, but not recorded there. The verb (to stave in, past tense stove) is 1590s, originally nautical, on notion of bashing in the staves of a cask and letting out the contents; stave off (1620s) is literally "keep off with a staff," as of dogs.