distaff

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Related to distaffs: distaff side

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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

distaff

nounadjective
Of, relating to, or characteristic of women:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Translations

distaff

[ˈdɪstɑːf]
A. Nrueca f
B. CPD the distaff side Nla rama femenina
on the distaff sidepor parte de madre
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005

distaff

[ˈdɪstɑːf] n
distaff side (humorous)côté maternel
on the distaff side (humorous)du côté maternel
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

distaff

n
(in spinning) → Spinnrocken m, → Kunkel f
on the distaff sidemütterlicherseits
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in classic literature ?
'La Falourdel, don't use your spinning-wheel too much in the evening; the devil is fond of combing the distaffs of old women with his horns.
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.
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?"
I thought of those fine wigs of tow or hemp with which the distaff of [126] our Prudence was always entangled.
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."