\ ˈstāv How to pronounce stave (audio) \

Definition of stave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : any of the narrow strips of wood or narrow iron plates placed edge to edge to form the sides, covering, or lining of a vessel (such as a barrel) or structure


staved or stove\ ˈstōv How to pronounce stove (audio) \; staving

Definition of stave (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to break in the staves of (a cask)
2 : to smash a hole in stove in the boat also : to crush or break inward staved in several ribs
3 : to drive or thrust away

intransitive verb

1 archaic : to become stove in used of a boat or ship
2 : to walk or move rapidly

Examples of stave in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That number includes Hong Kong’s mafia-like triads, who have taken the party’s side and used staves to beat and threaten pro-democracy protesters. The Economist, "Protesters in Hong Kong take their grievances to the airport," 13 Aug. 2019 The barrel was finished in special French oak staves. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's Morning Line: Cincinnati Reds getting closer to answering the buy-or-sell question," 27 June 2019 Barrel staves threaded across the ceiling, sprouting jagged brass light fixtures. Josh Noel,, "Three Floyds launches distillery with the iconic brewery's same 'it's not normal' point of view," 6 June 2019 Oak staves can be added to achieve the flavor usually imparted by barrels. Aleksandra Crapanzano, WSJ, "The Winery That Fits in a Closet," 12 Oct. 2018 Next up, bona fide country man Chris Stapleton — whose band featured Nashville superproducer Dave Cobb — wowed the pro-country crowd with his thick-and-rich baritone as sweetly rugged as a bourbon barrel stave. Michael Rietmulder, The Seattle Times, "Review: Joe Walsh’s VetsAid was a familial star-powered party at Tacoma Dome, raising $1.2 million," 12 Nov. 2018 Others use materials of drywall, vinyl tile, burlap, stucco, wooden staves, Mylar and ceramics — an homage to the U.S. construction jobs that so many Mexicans fill today. George Fishman, miamiherald, "Monarchs ‘Brown and Native’ butterfly exhibit a response to contemporary events," 13 July 2018 Directors have had to unlearn all the old ways it was once done. Billowing drapery, the dimming of lights, a sudden curtain: that entire evasive language is old hat, as obsolete a thing now as barrel staves and buggy whips. Max Maller, Chicago Reader, "Fucking Men struggles with onstage intimacy realness," 11 July 2018 Jamie will load up a stave (available at his retail shop at 2710 Frankfort Ave.) with, say, oysters, and grill them right in the fire. Dana Mcmahan, The Courier-Journal, "Get ready to fire up the grill for Memorial Day with these tips," 22 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But half-measures like Microsoft’s reimbursement plan appears to be enough to stave it off. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Microsoft's Ebook Apocalypse Shows the Dark Side of DRM," 30 June 2019 Jurisdictions trying to stave it off are fighting a losing battle. Bradley Tusk, WSJ, "You Didn’t Get Amazon HQ2. Now What?," 13 Nov. 2018 To stave them off, wipe the seal down weekly with a mild bleach solution (1-part bleach, 9-parts water). NBC News, "How to clean (almost) every appliance in your home," 14 June 2018 Relegation was unthinkable, and he's successfully managed to stave it off., "Why David Moyes Is Not the Man to Take West Ham Forward Despite Saving Hammers From Relegation," 15 May 2018 But New England will travel to Jacksonville to try to once again vanquish the Jaguars on Sept. 16 in Week 2 after staving them off for the AFC crown in January. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "Eagles to host Falcons in NFL regular-season opener as Super Bowl title defense begins," 19 Apr. 2018 Syria, and its ally Russia, have denied the government used chemical weapons in Douma and said the opposition fabricated the attack to stave a government victory in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus. Rebecca Collard / Beirut, Time, "With Bravado, the Syrian Government Responds to U.S.-Led Attacks," 14 Apr. 2018 Ajer is currently contracted at Celtic until 2020 and the club are keen to offer an improved contract in an attempt to stave of any interest in their player, who has become a mainstay in Celtic's defence., "Borussia Dortmund Set Their Sights on Celtic's Rising Star Kristoffer Ajer," 3 Apr. 2018 In recent years, Niger has emerged as a strategic ally in counterterrorism missions and efforts to stave irregular migration to the European Union. Lisa Mueller, Washington Post, "Niger’s protests are ramping up. Here’s why.," 26 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stave.' 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 stave


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1595, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for stave


Middle English, back-formation from staves, plural of staf staff

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Statistics for stave

Last Updated

19 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stave

The first known use of stave was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for stave



English Language Learners Definition of stave

: one of the narrow strips of wood that form the sides of a barrel
: a long wooden stick


\ ˈstāv How to pronounce stave (audio) \

Kids Definition of stave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one of the narrow strips of wood or iron plates that form the sides, covering, or lining of something (as a barrel)
2 : a wooden stick : staff


staved or stove\ ˈstōv \; staving

Kids Definition of stave (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to break in the staves of stave a barrel
2 : to smash a hole in Waves staved the boat's hull.
stave off
: to keep away : ward off A snack will stave off hunger.

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More from Merriam-Webster on stave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stave

Spanish Central: Translation of stave

Nglish: Translation of stave for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on stave

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


to shake or wave menacingly

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