distaff


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dis·taff

 (dĭs′tăf′)
n.
1.
a. A staff that holds on its cleft end the unspun flax, wool, or tow from which thread is drawn in spinning by hand.
b. An attachment for a spinning wheel that serves this purpose.
2. Work and concerns traditionally considered important to women.
3. Women considered as a group.
adj.
1. Of or relating to women and girls; female.
2. Relating to or being the female line or maternal branch of a family.

[Middle English distaf, from Old English distæf : dis-, bunch of flax; akin to Middle Dutch disen, to prepare a distaff with flax; see dizen + stæf, staff.]

distaff

(ˈdɪstɑːf)
n
1. (Textiles) the rod on which flax is wound preparatory to spinning
2. (modifier) of or concerning women: offensive to distaff members of the audience.
[Old English distæf, from dis- bunch of flax + stæf staff1; see dizen]

dis•taff

(ˈdɪs tæf, -tɑf)

n.
1. a long staff for holding wool, flax, etc., from which the thread is drawn in spinning by hand.
2. Archaic.
a. women collectively.
b. women's work or concerns.
adj.
4. of or pertaining to women, women's work, or the female line of descent.
[before 1000; Middle English distaf, Old English distæf=dis- (akin to Middle Low German dis(en)e bunch of flax]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.distaff - the sphere of work by women
arena, domain, sphere, orbit, area, field - a particular environment or walk of life; "his social sphere is limited"; "it was a closed area of employment"; "he's out of my orbit"
2.distaff - the staff on which wool or flax is wound before spinning
spinning wheel - a small domestic spinning machine with a single spindle that is driven by hand or foot
staff - a strong rod or stick with a specialized utilitarian purpose; "he walked with the help of a wooden staff"
Adj.1.distaff - characteristic of or peculiar to a woman; "female sensitiveness"; "female suffrage"
feminine - associated with women and not with men; "feminine intuition"

distaff

nounadjective
Of, relating to, or characteristic of women:
Translations

distaff

[ˈdɪstɑːf]
A. Nrueca f
B. CPD the distaff side Nla rama femenina
on the distaff sidepor parte de madre

distaff

[ˈdɪstɑːf] n
distaff side (humorous)côté maternel
on the distaff side (humorous)du côté maternel

distaff

n
(in spinning) → Spinnrocken m, → Kunkel f
on the distaff sidemütterlicherseits
References in classic literature ?
Meek, mouse-colored donkeys, laden with panniers of freshly cut grass passed by, with a pretty girl in a capaline sitting between the green piles, or an old woman spinning with a distaff as she went.
Now, as the girl was sitting at her distaff, weeping bitterly because she could not spin, she heard the sound of hundreds of little feet, and from every hole and corner in the hut mice came pattering along the floor, squeaking and saying:
Then what am I making professions for; what am I bragging about; when it is fitter for me to handle the distaff than the sword?
This woman wore on her head a red handkerchief, beneath which trailed long locks of hair in color and shape like the flax on a distaff.
Go, then, within the house and busy yourself with your daily duties, your loom, your distaff, and the ordering of your servants; for speech is man's matter, and mine above all others {10}--for it is I who am master here.
Go, then, within the house, and busy yourself with your daily duties, your loom, your distaff, and the ordering of your servants; for war is man's matter, and mine above all others of them that have been born in Ilius.
The brittle thread is broken, The dull wheel wearies of its ceaseless round, The duller distaff sickens of its load; I will not spin to-night.
They inherit Plantagenet blood by direct descent, and Tudor on the distaff side.
Another story says that he came to hold the distaff, and at last wore the Nessus shirt.
I thought of those fine wigs of tow or hemp with which the distaff of [126] our Prudence was always entangled.
I 'm rather fond of plum-cake," observed Tom, likening himself to Hercules with the distaff, and finding his employment pleasant, if not classical.
They may find they have more tow on their distaff than they know how to spin.