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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, staves
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).
Phrasal Verb:
stave off
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.
References in classic literature ?
Seeing, now, that there were no curtains to the window, and that the street being very narrow, the house opposite commanded a plain view into the room, and observing more and more the indecorous figure that Queequeg made, staving about with little else but his hat and boots on; I begged him as well as I could, to accelerate his toilet somewhat, and particularly to get into his pantaloons as soon as possible.
He appreciated the swift and stringent response of the security forces in staving off the terrorist attack.
Using the geometrically correct staves greatly contributes to the ease of raising a barrel, and the staving jointers have became one of the company's most critical pieces of machinery, Combs says.