- a woman or women collectively.
- women's work.
- dist. atty.,
- dist. ct.,
- distaff side,
- distal myopathy
Origin of distaff
Examples from the Web for distaff
Indeed, the distaff vote may yet again break Republican this cycle—as it did in 2010—if the polls are to be believed.The 2014 Election Is Yet Another Scrum in the Culture Wars|Lloyd Green|October 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST
As Maggie in a 1990 production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof she was more than just a slip of distaff Mississippi flesh.
Indeed, she had done little for many years except twirl the distaff in her corner by the fire.Red Cap Tales|Samuel Rutherford Crockett
He removed the final f from bailiff, mastiff, plaintiff and pontiff, but left it in distaff.The American Language|Henry L. Mencken
Then seek your chamber and attend to matters of your own,—the loom, the distaff,—and bid the women ply their tasks.
The first held the distaff, the second spun the thread, and the third cut it.
Above all, the entire school is minus virility; its music is of the distaff, and has not the masculine ring of crossed swords.Ivory Apes and Peacocks|James Huneker
Word Origin for distaff
Old English distæf "stick that holds flax for spinning," from dis- "bunch of flax" (cf. Middle Low German dise, Low German diesse "a bunch of flax on a distaff;" see bedizen) + stæf "stick, staff" (see staff).
A synonym in English for "the female sex, female authority in the family," since at least the late 1400s, probably because in the Middle Ages spinning was typically done by women. St. Distaff's Day was Jan. 7, when "women resumed their spinning and other ordinary employments after the holidays" [OED].