Dictionary

1distaff

noun dis·taff \ˈdis-ˌtaf\
plural distaffs \-ˌtafs, -ˌtavz\

Definition of DISTAFF

1
a :  a staff for holding the flax, tow, or wool in spinning
b :  woman's work or domain
2
:  the female branch or side of a family

Illustration of DISTAFF

Origin of DISTAFF

Middle English distaf, from Old English distæf, from dis- (akin to Middle Low German dise bunch of flax) + stæf staff
First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Anthropology Terms

ectomorph, ethnography, prehistory, yurt

2distaff

adjective

: of, relating to, or being a woman

Full Definition of DISTAFF

1
:  maternal 2 <the distaff side of the family> — compare spear
2
:  female 1 <distaff executives>

First Known Use of DISTAFF

circa 1633

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: distafferPrevious Word in the Dictionary: distAll Words Near: distaff
July 04, 2015
stringent Hear it
rigorous, strict, or severe
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears