\ 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And with that, Waters and his bandmates went back out with Petty and the Heartbreakers and played a few old blues songs to a crowd of what Zelisko estimates was 50 to 100 stragglers at the bar as the Dooley's staff stacked chairs. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 22 Jan. 2022 Even before the pandemic, Indiana ranked 48th in the nation for total nursing staff when adjusted for the needs of residents. Tony Cook, The Indianapolis Star, 22 Jan. 2022 Until recently, Jacobs’ department was one of the only agencies in Utah that had a therapist on staff. Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Jan. 2022 Claude, who took a visit to Xavier before the season started, said Xavier's entire coaching staff built a solid relationship with him. Adam Baum, The Enquirer, 21 Jan. 2022 The attack occurred on June 10, 2009, and led to the death of officer Stephen Tyrone Johns, who lost his life protecting museum visitors and staff, according to Marc Hayot, Arkansas Online, 21 Jan. 2022 Federal Reserve policymakers and staff have studied CBDC closely for several years, says the paper. Vipin Bharathan, Forbes, 21 Jan. 2022 Drug users can have their supply tested for fentanyl and in the event of an overdose, staff can administer the antidote naloxone. David Luhnow, WSJ, 21 Jan. 2022 Since then, Chicago’s first ever public art plan resulted in a full-time, five person staff dedicated to public art and a budget now near $20 million. Lauren Warnecke,, 21 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In January 2020, hospitals had enough workers to staff 8,400 beds, Delbridge said. Hallie Miller,, 31 Dec. 2021 Carriers and their employees say the latest chapter of the pandemic, the Omicron variant, has cut deeply into the ability to staff flights, even though a vast majority of crew members are vaccinated. New York Times, 30 Dec. 2021 To help, WellSpan has been training and deploying several of its nurses to staff those extra beds. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 11 Dec. 2021 The situation is exacerbated by a nursing shortage across the state and country, which limits hospitals’ ability to staff additional beds. Joe Mahr,, 3 Dec. 2021 The company plans to hire as many as 200 hybrid or remote-work software engineers, architects and analysts to staff the office. Paul O'donnell, Dallas News, 20 Sep. 2021 With no questions or discussion, the Legislative Council approved the Health Department's request to use $18.1 million in rescue funds to help hospitals staff 54 more intensive-care beds. Michael R. Wickline, Arkansas Online, 28 Aug. 2021 Across the state, hospitals were similarly expanding beds capacity and pleading for more health care workers to staff those beds. oregonlive, 27 Aug. 2021 Preparing for a two-pronged surge of patients, Johnson Memorial recently converted some office space into overflow rooms and has been trying to hire nurses to staff those beds, Dunkle said. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, 19 Aug. 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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Dictionary Entries Near staff

Staël, de



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Statistics for staff

Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Staff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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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
: 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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