noun, plural staffs for 1–5, 9; staves [steyvz] /steɪvz/ or staffs for 6–8, 10, 11.
- a body of officers without command authority, appointed to assist a commanding officer.
- the parts of any army concerned with administrative matters, planning, etc., rather than with actual participation in combat.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
Origin of staff1
Origin of staff2
Examples from the Web for staff
Contemporary Examples of staff
They took cover inside a print works to the north east of Paris, where they held a member of staff as a hostage.France Kills Charlie Hebdo Murderers
January 9, 2015
Although the blood-spattered offices will be off-limits, staff have vowed to continue producing the magazine.France Mourns—and Hunts
Nico Hines, Christopher Dickey
January 8, 2015
You get these high-profile people that go into prison, and the staff abuse their authority.How a ‘Real Housewife’ Survives Prison: ‘I Don’t See [Teresa Giudice] Having a Cakewalk Here’
January 6, 2015
He would talk to Mecallari and the staff about what was of paramount importance to him, his two sons.In The Shadow of Murdered Cops
December 26, 2014
According to some rumors, Goya was once on staff before his fame as a Spanish painter.Inside The World’s 10 Oldest Restaurants
December 20, 2014
Historical Examples of staff
Behold me with staff and scrip, footing it merrily in the Land of Pardons.Ballads of a Bohemian
Robert W. Service
The youth pondered, and drew a plan amongst the rushes with the point of his staff.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
The staff had fallen into the way of attending Wilson's operations.
The hospital did not approve of engagements between nurses and the staff.
The staff went hopelessly down the stairs to the smoking-room, and smoked.
noun plural for senses 1,3,4 staffs or plural for senses 5-9 staffs or staves (steɪvz)
- the system of horizontal lines grouped into sets of five (four in the case of plainsong) upon which music is written. The spaces between them are also used, being employed in conjunction with a clef in order to give a graphic indication of pitch
- any set of five lines in this system together with its clefthe treble staff
Word Origin for staff
Word Origin for staff
Old English stæf "walking stick, strong pole used for carrying, rod used as a weapon" (also, in plural, "letter, character, writing," cf. stæfcræft "grammar"), from Proto-Germanic *stabaz (cf. Old Saxon staf, Old Norse stafr, Old Frisian stef, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch staf, Old High German stab, German Stab, Gothic *stafs "element;" Middle Dutch stapel "pillar, foundation"), from PIE root *stebh- "post, stem, to support, place firmly on, fasten" (cf. Old Lithuanian stabas "idol," Lithuanian stebas "staff, pillar;" Old Church Slavonic stoboru "pillar;" Sanskrit stabhnati "supports;" Greek stephein "to tie around, encircle, wreathe," staphyle "grapevine, bunch of grapes;" Old English stapol "post, pillar").
Sense of "group of military officers that assists a commander" is attested from 1702, apparently from German, from the notion of the "baton" that is a badge of office or authority (a sense attested in English from 1530s). Meaning "group of employees (as at an office or hospital)" is first found 1837. Staff of life "bread" is from the Biblical phrase "to break the staff of bread" (Lev. xxvi:26), translating Hebrew matteh lekhem.
"to provide with a staff of assistants," 1859, from staff (n.). Related: Staffed; staffing.