Hypertext Webster Gateway: "staff"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Staff \Staff\, n. [G. staffiren to fill or fit out, adorn, fr.
D. stoffeeren, OF. estoffer, F. ['e]toffer, fr. OF. estoffe
stuff, F. ['e]toffe. See {Stuff}, n.] (Arch.)
Plaster combined with fibrous and other materials so as to be
suitable for sculpture in relief or in the round, or for
forming flat plates or boards of considerable size which can
be nailed to framework to make the exterior of a larger
structure, forming joints which may afterward be repaired and
concealed with fresh plaster.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Staff \Staff\, n.; pl. {Staves} (? or ?; 277) or {Staffs}in
senses 1-9, {Staffs} in senses 10, 11. [AS. st[ae]f a staff;
akin to LG. & D. staf, OFries stef, G. stab, Icel. stafr, Sw.
staf, Dan. stav, Goth. stabs element, rudiment, Skr.
sth[=a]pay to cause to stand, to place. See {Stand}, and cf.
{Stab}, {Stave}, n.]
1. A long piece of wood; a stick; the long handle of an
instrument or weapon; a pole or srick, used for many
purposes; as, a surveyor's staff; the staff of a spear or

And he put the staves into the rings on the sides of
the altar to bear it withal. --Ex. xxxviii.

With forks and staves the felon to pursue. --Dryden.

2. A stick carried in the hand for support or defense by a
person walking; hence, a support; that which props or
upholds. ``Hooked staves.'' --Piers Plowman.

The boy was the very staff of my age. --Shak.

He spoke of it [beer] in ``The Earnest Cry,'' and
likewise in the ``Scotch Drink,'' as one of the
staffs of life which had been struck from the poor
man's hand. --Prof.

3. A pole, stick, or wand borne as an ensign of authority; a
badge of office; as, a constable's staff.

Methought this staff, mine office badge in court,
Was broke in twain. --Shak.

All his officers brake their staves; but at their
return new staves were delivered unto them.

4. A pole upon which a flag is supported and displayed.

5. The round of a ladder. [R.]

I ascend at one [ladder] of six hundred and
thirty-nine staves. --Dr. J.
Campbell (E.

6. A series of verses so disposed that, when it is concluded,
the same order begins again; a stanza; a stave.

Cowley found out that no kind of staff is proper for
an heroic poem, as being all too lyrical. --Dryden.

7. (Mus.) The five lines and the spaces on which music is
written; -- formerly called stave.

8. (Mech.) An arbor, as of a wheel or a pinion of a watch.

9. (Surg.) The grooved director for the gorget, or knife,
used in cutting for stone in the bladder.

10. [From {Staff}, 3, a badge of office.] (Mil.) An
establishment of officers in various departments attached
to an army, to a section of an army, or to the commander
of an army. The general's staff consists of those
officers about his person who are employed in carrying
his commands into execution. See {['E]tat Major}.

11. Hence: A body of assistants serving to carry into effect
the plans of a superintendant or manager; as, the staff
of a newspaper.

{Jacob's staff} (Surv.), a single straight rod or staff,
pointed and iron-shod at the bottom, for penetrating the
ground, and having a socket joint at the top, used,
instead of a tripod, for supporting a compass.

{Staff angle} (Arch.), a square rod of wood standing flush
with the wall on each of its sides, at the external angles
of plastering, to prevent their being damaged.

{The staff of life}, bread. ``Bread is the staff of life.''

{Staff tree} (Bot.), any plant of the genus {Celastrus},
mostly climbing shrubs of the northern hemisphere. The
American species ({C. scandens}) is commonly called
{bittersweet}. See 2d {Bittersweet}, 3
(b) .

{To set}, or {To put}, {up, or down}, {one's staff}, to take
up one's residence; to lodge. [Obs.]

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: personnel who assist their superior in carrying out an
assigned task; "the hospital has an excellent nursing
staff"; "the general relied on his staff to make routine
2: the body of teachers and administrators at a school; "the
dean addressed the letter to the entire staff of the
university" [syn: {faculty}]
3: a strong rod or stick with a specialized utilitarian
purpose; "he walked with the help of a wooden staff"
4: a rod carried as a symbol
5: (music) the system of five horizontal lines on which the
musical notes are written [syn: {stave}]
v : provide with staff; "This position is not always staffed"

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