Nearby words

  1. stadiometer,
  2. stadium,
  3. stadium jacket,
  4. stadle,
  5. stadtholder,
  6. staff association,
  7. staff captain,
  8. staff cell,
  9. staff college,
  10. staff corporal

Origin of staff

before 900; Middle English staf (noun), Old English stæf; cognate with Dutch staf, German Stab, Old Norse stafr staff, Sanskrit stabh- support

Related formsstaff·less, adjectiveun·staffed, adjectivewell-staffed, adjective

Can be confusedstaff staph

Usage note


[ staf, stahf ]
/ stæf, stɑf /


a composition of plaster and fibrous material used for a temporary finish and in ornamental work, as on exposition buildings.

Origin of staff

1890–95, Americanism; perhaps < German Stoff stuff Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for staff

British Dictionary definitions for staff


/ (stɑːf) /

noun plural for senses 1,3,4 staffs or plural for senses 5-9 staffs or staves (steɪvz)


(tr) to provide with a staff

Word Origin for staff

Old English stæf; related to Old Frisian stef, Old Saxon staf, German Stab, Old Norse stafr, Gothic Stafs; see stave


US a mixture of plaster and hair used to cover the external surface of temporary structures and for decoration

Word Origin for staff

C19: of unknown origin

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

Medicine definitions for staff


[ stăf ]


A specific group of workers.


To provide with a staff of workers or assistants.
To serve on the staff of.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.