\ ˈstaf How to pronounce staff (audio) \
plural staffs\ ˈstafs How to pronounce staff (audio) , ˈstavz \ or staves\ ˈstavz How to pronounce staff (audio) , ˈstāvz \

Definition of staff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a long stick carried in the hand for support in walking
b : a supporting rod: such as
(1) archaic : shaft sense 1a(1)
(2) : a crosspiece in a ladder or chair : rung
(3) : flagstaff
(4) : a pivoted arbor
c : club, cudgel
2a : crosier
b : a rod carried as a symbol of office or authority
3 : the horizontal lines with their spaces on which music is written

called also stave

4 : any of various graduated sticks or rules used for measuring : rod
5 plural staffs
a : the officers chiefly responsible for the internal operations of an institution or business
b : a group of officers appointed to assist a civil executive or commanding officer
c : military or naval officers not eligible for operational command
d : the personnel who assist a director in carrying out an assigned task
e plural staff : a member of a staff employs three full-time staff


staffed; staffing; staffs

Definition of staff (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to supply with a staff or with workers
2 : to serve as a staff member of an organization staffed by volunteers

Other Words from staff


staff adjective

Examples of staff in a Sentence

Noun The entire staff has done a great job this year. The staff is at a meeting. She's a new member of the staff. The general's staff is planning the army's next move. Verb We'll need 300 workers to properly staff the hotel. the 300 workers who staff the hotel See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Pharma has been clear with reporters and Hill staff that Democrats’ drug pricing bill will be catastrophic for the industry. Rachel Cohrs, STAT, 2 Aug. 2022 Most healthcare workers have a desire to continue improving, but hospital staff everywhere remain overwhelmed. Ofir Paldi, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 Other material comes from campaign staff who develop ideas that stay on-brand for Fetterman and on turf that the candidate has staked out, Calvello said. Marc Levy, ajc, 1 Aug. 2022 A few months later, Walensky slammed schools for reopening without implementing mask and vaccine mandates for school staff and students. Fox News, 1 Aug. 2022 The hope of these women in the study is to see a more empathetic presence and understanding of the challenges associated with having lupus from employees working in provider offices, especially direct care staff. Noel Cody, Essence, 1 Aug. 2022 The Ukrainian hires include coders and staff in marketing. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, 1 Aug. 2022 All five of the UK’s largest retail banks have now pledged to pay staff more money as household incomes are squeezed by inflation that has hit a four-decade high., 1 Aug. 2022 When the flood waters receded, staff of the Whitesburg Medical Clinic on Friday found furniture overturned, medical equipment ruined, files and computers waterlogged, and more than a foot of mud and water inside. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, 1 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Unfortunately, airlines have not been able to staff up to handle the rebound, reporting that the process has been slower and more complex than expected. Kelsey Ogletree, WSJ, 20 July 2022 Some districts were even able to staff up quickly with coronavirus funds. Globe Staff,, 10 July 2022 Schools around the country are trying to staff up counselors and therapists, but experts say Alabama’s creation of a bridge role could be a model. al, 29 June 2022 In recent days, both Ray and Martinez have posted department-wide messages to staff aimed at shoring up morale. Jeff Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 July 2022 The executive team juggles the routine work of keeping the nonprofit clinic running, while calling board members to confirm strategy and relaying important updates to staff. Bracey Harris, NBC News, 19 June 2022 The budget plan also includes funding for nine officer positions to staff the Group Violence Reduction Strategy, a centerpiece of Mayor Brandon Scott’s approach to gun violence. Emily Opilo, Baltimore Sun, 8 June 2022 There were a variety of reasons: some had scheduling conflicts; some did not have enough employees to staff multiple markets; and some did not return her calls. Kimberly Fornek,, 3 Mar. 2022 The firm’s new diverse financial institutions group team will be led by Harold Butler, a senior banker who spent 16 years covering the Treasury and the Federal Reserve in Citigroup’s investment banking arm, according to a memo to staff Wednesday. Washington Post, 3 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'staff.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of staff


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1859, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for staff


Middle English staf, from Old English stæf; akin to Old High German stab staff, Sanskrit stabhnāti he supports

Learn More About staff

Time Traveler for staff

Time Traveler

The first known use of staff was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near staff

Staël, de



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Statistics for staff

Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Staff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for staff


\ ˈstaf How to pronounce staff (audio) \
plural staffs or staves\ ˈstavz \

Kids Definition of staff

1 : a pole, stick, rod, or bar used as a support or as a sign of authority the staff of a flag a bishop's staff
2 plural staffs : a group of persons serving as assistants to or employees under a chief a hospital staff the administrative staff
3 : the five parallel lines with their four spaces on which music is written
4 : something that is a source of strength Bread is the staff of life.
5 plural staffs : a group of military officers who plan and manage for a commanding officer


\ ˈstaf How to pronounce staff (audio) \

Medical Definition of staff

: the doctors and surgeons regularly attached to a hospital and helping to determine its policies and guide its activities

More from Merriam-Webster on staff

Nglish: Translation of staff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of staff for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about staff


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