\ 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

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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 Arizona State will go into the 2021-2022 college baseball season with an entirely new coaching staff with no holdovers from the seven-year Tracy Smith regime. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, 20 July 2021 Riddick, who interviewed for the Lions' GM job last year, is impressed with Campbell's staff. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, 20 July 2021 It will be housed in a YMCA with staff ready to assist victims who need to access mental health and wellness referrals as well as other urgent services. Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2021 Second-phase classes begin this fall, and by the end of the year the center expects to be fully manned and operating with a staff of 100. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 July 2021 Lee came away from Columbus incredibly impressed with the OSU staff. cleveland, 16 July 2021 With staff out, camp sessions were canceled through next week and will tentatively restart July 25. Madison Bateman,, 16 July 2021 The five other prisoners also filed grievances about conditions with the warden's staff. Johnny Magdaleno, The Indianapolis Star, 14 July 2021 In conversations with staff these days, Goldberg repeatedly stresses the importance of hitting 1 million subscribers to ensure the magazine is financially sustainable, sources at the magazine said. NBC News, 13 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tom Brown, head of the Hubble mission office, emailed to staff at the Science Telescope Science Institute (STScI) at at 5.56 this morning. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, 16 July 2021 Already, Leonel was reaching out to staff there almost every week, forging a bond. Mila Koumpilova, USA Today, 1 July 2021 All inmates will also have the ability to provide information about their gender identity to staff at any time while incarcerated. Tori B. Powell, CBS News, 29 June 2021 Uber outlined the changes to staff in an email Tuesday. Fortune, 29 June 2021 Employers are adjusting, both to hold on to staff and upgrade talent, and that will lead to even more quitting and hiring. Dallas News, 27 June 2021 The eye-popping price tag ranges from just over $100,000 to nearly $632,000 a year to staff and rent a toilet depending on hours and type. Mallory Moench, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 June 2021 Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper in 2012 and sent harassing messages and letters to staff at the newspaper for years before methodically plotting the attack, prosecutors said. Washington Post, 23 June 2021 An Atlanta branch of IKEA announced to staff that the store would incorporate a holiday menu, which featured food that has been used historically to stereotype Black culture and people. Vanessa Etienne,, 23 June 2021

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

22 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Staff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for staff



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 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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