\ 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 Hospital staff sealed the Yolo cartridge in a biohazard bag and handed it back. Author: Holbrook Mohr, Anchorage Daily News, "State authorities concerned by street drug in some CBD vapes," 17 Sep. 2019 Village staff asked trustees to consider reviewing proposals every other year — starting with FY20 — instead of annually, said Becky Madison, assistant to the village manager. Alexandra Kukulka,, "Glenview nonprofit organizations to continue making annual funding requests after Village Board rejects having biennial process," 17 Sep. 2019 Staff were evacuated and to the best of our knowledge no leap staff were in the building at the time of the explosion., "A maintenance worker at the facility, Larry Lord, 60, was also injured in the explosion. He was flown to Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital.," 17 Sep. 2019 Ranking Member Doug Collins also objected to a member of committee staff questioning Lewandowski, referring to the official as a consultant. Grace Segers, CBS News, "Lewandowski sidesteps questions about Mueller report at House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing," 17 Sep. 2019 Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Interior, said that of the 26 people killed 22 were civilians and four were security staff. Ehsan Popalzai And Aimee Lewis, CNN, "At least 48 people killed in two separate bomb attacks in Afghanistan," 17 Sep. 2019 According to the council’s interpretation of the law, the Zoghby Act limited the mayor’s non-merit staff to $50,000 annually in 1985. al, "Mobile’s ongoing legal woes threaten timely budget vote," 17 Sep. 2019 The Post-a-Nut program is a postal service begun 28 years ago to promote tourism and later expanded to help bulk up business so the tiny post office wouldn’t lose status or staff. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Mail carrier delivers an unusual object to San Diego Opera," 16 Sep. 2019 According to the statement, Roethlisberger underwent an MRI on Sunday, after which the team's medical staff determined that surgery would be required. Alaa Abdeldaiem,, "Ben Roethlisberger to Undergo Elbow Surgery, Miss Remainder of Steelers' Season," 16 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb So, even when they were fully staffed with the A-team, this was still really messy. NBC News, "Meet the Press - July 14, 2019," 14 July 2019 It will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday. Soumya Karlamangla,, "Data breach exposes information of thousands of patients in L.A. County," 9 July 2019 It is staffed by a combination of paid and volunteer medical professionals including doctors, nurses, translators, health coaches, scribes, medical assistants and a driver. Alix Boyle,, "Malta House of Care expands mobile clinic services," 11 June 2019 It was staffed by three senators from the Democratic, Republican and Independent Democratic conferences; the GOP and IDC were aligned, which led Democrats to cast aside the Republican complaints. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "After Historic Swearing-In, New York Senate Majority Leader Lays Out Progressive Plan," 9 Jan. 2019 In the last two weeks, his campaign has been staffing up in a real way, and now has offices in all 10 counties. James Pindell,, "Who will win? Ranking the Democratic primary candidates in New Hampshire," 6 Sep. 2019 Lots of older workers staff the fast food restaurants. Beth Thames |, al, "Show minimum wage workers some respect," 4 Sep. 2019 Other Illinois dispensaries are preparing for recreational sales as well, searching for locations to open a second site, staffing up and getting ready for increased foot traffic. Ally Marotti,, "Cresco Labs changes name, look of dispensaries as recreational marijuana sales near. ‘We want this store to fit in the retail corridors.’," 29 July 2019 Nearly 3,000 National Guards troops had been deployed throughout Louisiana for potential storm response, and the state's Emergency Operations Center remains fully active and staffed around the clock, according to Edwards' office. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "'Don't let your guard down.' Tropical Storm Barry is expected to weaken today, but flooding threat remains," 14 July 2019

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

26 Oct 2019

Cite this Entry

“Staff.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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

Comments on staff

What made you want to look up staff? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not agreeing with established beliefs

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