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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Staff


STAFF, noun plural [G., a bar, a rod. The primary sense is to thrust, to shoot. See Stab.]

1. A stick carried in the hand for support or defense by a person walking; hence, a support; that which props or upholds. Bread is the proverbially called the staff of life.

The boy was the very staff of my age.

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalms 23:4.

2. A stick or club used as a weapon.

With forks and staves the felon they pursue.

3. A long piece of wood; a stick; the long handle of an instrument; a pole or stick, used for many purposes.

4. The five lines and the spaces on which music is written.

5. An ensign of authority; a badge of office; as a constables staff

6. The round of a ladder.

7. A pole erected in a ship to hoist and display a flag; called a flag-staff. There is also a jack-staff, and an ensign-staff.

8. In military affairs, an establishment of officers in various departments, attached to an army. The staff includes officers not of the line, as adjutants, quarter-masters, chaplain, surgeon, etc. The staff is the medium of communication from the commander in chief to every department of an army.

9. A stanza; a series of verses so disposed that when it is concluded, the same order begins again.

Cowley found out that no kind of staff is proper for a heroic poem, as being all too lyrical.

10. Stave and staves, plural of staff [See Stave.]