- 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.
verb (used with object), staved or stove, stav·ing.
verb (used without object), staved or stove, stav·ing.
- 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
British Dictionary definitions for stave off (1 of 2)
British Dictionary definitions for stave off (2 of 2)
- British an individual group of five lines and four spaces used in staff notation
- another word for staff 1 (def. 9)
verb staves, staving, staved or stove
Word Origin for stave
Word Origin and History for stave off
"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.
Idioms and Phrases with stave off
Keep or hold away, repel, as in The Federal Reserve Board is determined to stave off inflation. This metaphoric expression transfers beating something off with a staff or stave to nonphysical repulsion. [c. 1600]