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staff 1

n. pl. staffs or staves (stāvz)
a. A stick or cane carried as an aid in walking or climbing.
b. A stout stick used as a weapon; a cudgel.
c. A pole on which a flag is displayed; a flagstaff.
d. A rod or baton carried as a symbol of authority.
2. pl. staffs A rule or similar graduated stick used for testing or measuring, as in surveying.
3. pl. staffs
a. A group of assistants to a manager, executive, or other person in authority.
b. A group of military officers assigned to assist a commanding officer in an executive or advisory capacity.
c. The personnel who carry out a specific enterprise: the nursing staff of a hospital.
4. Something that serves as a staple or support.
5. Music A set of horizontal lines and intermediate spaces used in notation to represent a sequence of pitches, in modern notation normally consisting of five lines and four spaces. Also called stave.
tr.v. staffed, staff·ing, staffs
1. To provide with a staff of workers or assistants.
2. To serve on the staff of (an organization).

[Middle English staf, from Old English stæf.]

staff 2

A building material of plaster and fiber used as an exterior wall covering of temporary buildings, as at expositions.

[Perhaps from German Stoff, stuff.]
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.


abbreviation for
(Placename) Staffordshire
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


abbr (British) (=Staffordshire)staff-student ratio ntaux m d'encadrement
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in classic literature ?
"And I tell you, Rostov, that you must apologize to the colonel!" said a tall, grizzly-haired staff captain, with enormous mustaches and many wrinkles on his large features, to Rostov who was crimson with excitement.
The staff captain, Kirsten, had twice been reduced to the ranks for affairs of honor and had twice regained his commission.
``Here, fellow,'' continued he, addressing Gurth, ``canst thou use the staff, that thou starts to it so readily?''
Take thy staff, Miller,'' he added, ``and keep thy head; and do you others let the fellow go, and give him a staff there is light enough to lay on load by.''
But the only thing about him that could be fixed upon as remarkable was his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent.
"Wickedness or not," said the traveller with the twisted staff, "I have a very general acquaintance here in New England.
When Little John reached the stand he found none fighting, but only bold Eric walking up and down the platform, swinging his staff and shouting lustily, "Now, who will come and strike a stroke for the lass he loves the best, with a good Lincolnshire yeoman?
Now, thou great lout, wilt thou not twirl staff for Nottingham?"
"Stay you here a little while, till I cut me a cudgel like unto that you have been twiddling in your fingers." So saying he sought his own bank again with a leap, laid aside his long bow and arrows, and cut him a stout staff of oak, straight, knotless, and a good six feet in length.
Finally he was elected to a position on the staff, and his career was assured.
This city, where the first university of the United States was founded, is justly celebrated for its astronomical staff. There are to be found assembled all the most eminent men of science.
In the grounds of the famous missionary consul, Pritchard, then absent in London, the consular flag of Britain waved as usual during the day, from a lofty staff planted within a few yards of the beach, and in full view of the frigate.