[tip-staf, -stahf]

noun, plural tip·staves [tip-steyvz] /ˈtɪpˌsteɪvz/, tip·staffs.

an attendant or crier in a court of law.
a staff tipped with metal, formerly carried as a badge of office, as by a constable.
any official who carried such a staff.

Nearby words

  1. tipple,
  2. tippler,
  3. tippoo sahib,
  4. tippy,
  5. tippytoe,
  6. tipster,
  7. tipsy,
  8. tipsy cake,
  9. tiptoe,
  10. tiptop

Origin of tipstaff

1535–45; shortened form of earlier tipped staff; see tip1, -ed3, staff1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tipstaff

British Dictionary definitions for tipstaff



a court official having miscellaneous duties, mostly concerned with the maintenance of order in court
a metal-tipped staff formerly used as a symbol of office

Word Origin for tipstaff

C16 tipped staff; see tip 1, 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

Word Origin and History for tipstaff



1540s, "tipped staff" (truncheon with a tip or cap of metal) carried as an emblem of office, from tip (n.) + staff (n.). As the name of an official who carries one (especially a sheriff's officer, bailiff, constable, court crier, etc.) it is recorded from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper