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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mallory Moench is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Mallory Moench,, "Safeway workers cancel contract, may strike in Northern California," 13 Feb. 2020 If schools choose to drill students, the organizations recommend that schools announce the lockdown in advance to staff, students and parents. Author: Hannah Furfaro, Anchorage Daily News, "Schools should drop active-shooter drills, say national education unions and major gun-control group," 12 Feb. 2020 President Trump has deployed dozens of high-profile supporters, family members, and staff on primary day in New Hampshire, a move campaign aides hope will galvanize support to turn the state red in November. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, "Trump campaign team hits the trail in New Hampshire," 11 Feb. 2020 This will affect about 66,000 registered Democrats in Tempe and Chandler, county elections staff said. Paulina Pineda, azcentral, "Heads up: About 66K Democrats will get 2 ballots in the mail for for city, presidential preference elections," 10 Feb. 2020 Hollywood Reporter staff writer Mia Galuppo asked Pitt during the pre-Oscars red carpet who has been behind his string of comedy gems during awards season. Ariana Romero,, "Brad Pitt Was Moved To Tears As He Accepted His First-Ever Acting Oscar," 10 Feb. 2020 Times staff writer Ryan Faughnder contributed to this report. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, "Amazon taps Hollywood veteran Mike Hopkins to bolster studio and Prime Video," 10 Feb. 2020 Megan Cassidy is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Megan Cassidy, San Francisco Chronicle, "Life after Ghost Ship," 7 Feb. 2020 Then, a conversation with WIRED staff writer Megan Molteni about how the spread of the coronavirus is claiming lives, disrupting the economy, and creating chaos in the global supply chain. Wired Staff, Wired, "The Virus, the Vote, and the Very Long Week," 7 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Front desks at the dorms had been staffed from 8 a.m. to midnight but will now be monitored at all hours. Dallas News, "Student safety, well-being in focus following deadly shooting at a Texas university," 10 Feb. 2020 Holm and a team of 19 businesses, nonprofits and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department prepare and staff the event, an effort that includes more than 1,100 Salvation Army volunteers. Kate Santich,, "Where to find free turkeys, meals for Thanksgiving in greater Orlando," 22 Nov. 2019 Picard talks to co-owner Sarabeth Drover, who tells us that two employees are leaving at the end of the season and staffing the café is going to be a challenge. Alex Delany, Bon Appétit, "I’d Never Even Heard of Bite House, Now I’ll Never Forget It," 7 Nov. 2019 The department staffs a minimum of three volunteer firefighters and a driver each day. Lisa J. Huriash,, "Murder in a tourist town: Firefighter’s death shakes Lauderdale-by-the-Sea," 1 Nov. 2019 Volunteers who ran and staffed the museums had begun recovery work. Richard Kurin, Smithsonian, "Rescuing Bahamian Culture," 1 Sep. 2019 The company, which is headquartered in San Francisco but mostly staffed in Akron, is working on rolling out a way for users to answer questions with text, photos or videos. Mary Kilpatrick,, "Meet the tech startups headlining Flashstarts 2019 Demo Day," 7 Aug. 2019 But for communities struggling to cover the tremendous public costs of the opioid crisis, from staffing for 911 calls to overdose-reversal drugs to treatment facilities, settlement payouts provide urgently needed funds. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "What equals justice for opioid crisis: Help victims or punish Big Pharma?," 9 May 2019 In 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans for the independent oversight and suggested that it should be staffed by outside experts. Danielle Abril, Fortune, "Facebook’s appeals court for questionable content takes shape. Here’s what you need to know," 29 Jan. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for staff

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for staff

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Staff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for staff


How to pronounce staff (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of staff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a group of people who work for an organization or business
: a group of military officers who help a commanding officer but who do not take part in active fighting
old-fashioned : a long stick that you carry in your hand for support while walking



English Language Learners Definition of staff (Entry 2 of 2)

: to supply (an organization or business) with workers
: to work for (an organization or business) as a member of a 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 pl 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 pl 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on staff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for staff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with staff

Spanish Central: Translation of staff

Nglish: Translation of staff for Spanish Speakers

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

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