• synonyms


[pawl-steyv, pal-]
noun Archaeology.
  1. a bronze celt fitted into a split wooden handle.
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Also pal·staff [pawl-staf, -stahf, pal-] /ˈpɔlˌstæf, -ˌstɑf, ˈpæl-/.

Origin of palstave

1850–55; < Danish pålstav, special use of Old Norse pālstafr javelin < Old English palster spike, taken (by folk etymology) as representing *pālstæf; see pole1, stave
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for palstave

Historical Examples

  • It is not always easy to discriminate unhesitatingly between the true axe-head and the palstave.

    The Archaeology and Prehistoric Annals of Scotland

    Daniel Wilson

  • The flat axes are distinguished by the side stops and in some cases the transition from palstave to socketed axe can be seen.

  • It is nothing else than the old Scandinavian "paalstaf," the "palstave" or "winged celt" of English antiquaries.

British Dictionary definitions for palstave


  1. archaeol a kind of celt, usually of bronze, made to fit into a split wooden handle rather than having a socket for the handle
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Word Origin

C19: from Danish paalstav, from Old Norse, from páll spade + stafr staff 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012