distaff was our Word of the Day on 02/21/2017. Hear the podcast!
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Recent Examples of distaff from the Web
The personal rivalries on the distaff side became apparent during the transition: When the Bushes won, Nancy did not invite Barbara to tour the living quarters until January 11 — much later than was traditional.
Even if a separate, distaff canon is built, the atmosphere against which it’s being constructed is, gradually, becoming more integrated.
And behind the camera, Scherfig has created something of a distaff utopia: both the book and the screenplay were written by women.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distaff.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
A distaff was originally a short staff that held a bundle of fibers - of flax or wool, for example - ready to be spun into yarn or thread. Since spinning was a basic daily task customarily done by women, the distaff came to be the symbol for the work or domain of women. This symbolic use of the noun distaff dates back to the time of Chaucer and is found in several works by Shakespeare. Eventually distaff came to be used for the female branch of a family and then as an adjective, as in the distaff side of the family.
DISTAFF Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of distaff for English Language Learners
: of, relating to, or being a woman
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