Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of staff
Meaning of staff by Wiktionary Dictionary


    A woman drawing a circle with a staff


    Old English stæf, from Proto-Germanic *stabaz. Cognate with Dutch staf, German Stab, Swedish stav. Sense of "group of military officers that assists a commander", attested from 1702, is influenced from German Stab .


    • ( RP ) enPR: stäf, IPA: /stɑːf/, X-SAMPA: stA:f
    • Rhymes: -ɑːf
    • ( North America, Northern England ) IPA: /ˈstæf/
    • Rhymes: -æf


    staff ( countable and uncountable; plural: staffs or staves or staff )

    A musical staff
    1. ( plural: staffs or staves ) a long, straight stick, especially one used to assist in walking .
    2. ( music, plural: staves ) A series of horizontal lines on which musical notes are written .
    3. ( plural: staff ) The employees of a business .
      The company employed 10 new staff this month .
    4. ( uncountable ) A mixture of plaster and fibre used as a temporary exterior wall covering ( see Wikipedia article )


    Related terms


    staff ( third-person singular simple present staffs present participle staffing, simple past and past participle staffed )

    1. ( transitive ) to supply ( a business ) with employees


Explanation of staff by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. provide with staff

    2. This position is not always staffed
    3. serve on the staff of

    4. The two men staff the reception desk
    1. a strong rod or stick with a specialized utilitarian purpose

    2. he walked with the help of a wooden staff
    3. the system of five horizontal lines on which the musical notes are written

    4. a rod carried as a symbol

    5. the body of teachers and administrators at a school

    6. the dean addressed the letter to the entire staff of the university
    7. personnel who assist their superior in carrying out an assigned task

    8. the hospital has an excellent nursing staff
      the general relied on his staff to make routine decisions
    9. building material consisting of plaster and hair

    Definition of staff by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Staff ( stȧf ), n.; pl. Staves ( stāvz or stävz; 277 ) or Staffs ( stȧfs ) in senses 1-9, Staffs in senses 10, 11. [AS. staef a staff; akin to LG. & D. staf, OFries. stef, G. stab, Icel. stafr, Sw. staf, Dan. stav, Goth. stabs element, rudiment, Skr. sthāpay 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 stick, used for many purposes; as, “a surveyor's staff; the staff of a spear or pike.”

      And he put the staves into the rings on the sides of the altar to bear it withal. Ex. xxxviii. 7.

      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. Wilson.

      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. Hayward.

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

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

      I ascended at one [ladder] of six hundred and thirty-nine staves. Dr. J. Campbell ( E. Brown's Travels ).

      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 Ètat Major.

      11. Hence: A body of assistants serving to carry into effect the plans of a superintendent or manager; sometimes used for the entire group of employees of an enterprise, excluding the top management; 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.” Swift. -- Staff tree ( Bot. ), any plant of the genus Celastrus, mostly climbing shrubs of the northern hemisphere. The American species ( Celastrus scandens ) is commonly called bittersweet. See 2d Bittersweet, 3 -- To set up one's staff, To put up one's staff, To set down one's staff or To put down one's staff, to take up one's residence; to lodge. [Obs.]

    2. Staff ( stȧf ), n. [G. staffiren to fill or fit out, adorn, fr. D. stoffeeren, OF. estoffer, F. étoffer, fr. OF. estoffe stuff, F. étoffe. 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.