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a. A narrow strip of wood forming part of the sides of a barrel, tub, or similar structure.
b. One of the wooden planks in a stave wall.
2. A rung of a ladder or chair.
3. A staff or cudgel.
4. Music See staff1.
5. A set of verses; a stanza.
tr.v. staved or stove (stōv), stav·ing, stavesPhrasal Verb:
To crush or smash inward, often by making a hole. Often used with in: "The jetliner had staved in the south side of the structure. The plane had ripped a hole 150 feet wide" (Bill Sammon).
To keep or hold off; repel: "For 12 years, we've sought to stave off this ultimate threat of disaster" (New York Times).
[Back-formation from staves, pl. of 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.