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In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed... No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
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1828 Noah Webster Dictionary
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1828.mshaffer.comWord [staff]

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staff

STAFF, n. plu. [G., a bar, a rod. The primary sense is to thrust, to shoot. See Stab.]

1. A stick carried in the hand for support or defense by a person walking; hence, a support; that which props or upholds. Bread is the proverbially called the staff of life.

The boy was the very staff of my age.

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23.

2. A stick or club used as a weapon.

With forks and staves the felon they pursue.

3. A long piece of wood; a stick; the long handle of an instrument; a pole or stick, used for many purposes.

4. The five lines and the spaces on which music is written.

5. An ensign of authority; a badge of office; as a constables staff.

6. The round of a ladder.

7. A pole erected in a ship to hoist and display a flag; called a flag-staff. There is also a jack-staff, and an ensign-staff.

8. In military affairs, an establishment of officers in various departments, attached to an army. The staff includes officers not of the line, as adjutants, quarter-masters, chaplain, surgeon, &c. The staff is the medium of communication from the commander in chief to every department of an army.

9. A stanza; a series of verses so disposed that when it is concluded, the same order begins again.

Cowley found out that no kind of staff is proper for a heroic poem, as being all too lyrical.

10. Stave and staves, plu. of staff. [See Stave.]



Evolution (or devolution) of this word [staff]

1828 Webster1844 Webster1913 Webster

STAFF, n. plu. [G., a bar, a rod. The primary sense is to thrust, to shoot. See Stab.]

1. A stick carried in the hand for support or defense by a person walking; hence, a support; that which props or upholds. Bread is the proverbially called the staff of life.

The boy was the very staff of my age.

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23.

2. A stick or club used as a weapon.

With forks and staves the felon they pursue.

3. A long piece of wood; a stick; the long handle of an instrument; a pole or stick, used for many purposes.

4. The five lines and the spaces on which music is written.

5. An ensign of authority; a badge of office; as a constables staff.

6. The round of a ladder.

7. A pole erected in a ship to hoist and display a flag; called a flag-staff. There is also a jack-staff, and an ensign-staff.

8. In military affairs, an establishment of officers in various departments, attached to an army. The staff includes officers not of the line, as adjutants, quarter-masters, chaplain, surgeon, &c. The staff is the medium of communication from the commander in chief to every department of an army.

9. A stanza; a series of verses so disposed that when it is concluded, the same order begins again.

Cowley found out that no kind of staff is proper for a heroic poem, as being all too lyrical.

10. Stave and staves, plu. of staff. [See Stave.]

STAFF, n. [plur. Staffs. Sax. stæf, a stick or club, a pole, a crook, a prop or support, a letter, an epistle; stæfn, stefn, the voice; D. staf, a staff, scepter or crook; staaf, a bar; G. stab, a staff, a bar, a rod; Dan. stab, stav, id.; stavn, stævn, the prow of a ship, that is, a projection, that which shoots out; Fr. douve. The primary sense is to thrust, to shoot. See Stab.]

  1. A stick carried in the hand for support or defense by a person walking; hence, a support; that which props or upholds. Bread is proverbially called the staff of life. The boy was the very staff of my age. – Shak. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. – Ps. xxiii.
  2. A stick or club used as a weapon. With forks and staffs the felon they pursue. – Dryden.
  3. A long piece of wood; a stick; the long handle of an instrument; a pole or stick, used for many purposes.
  4. The five lines and the spaces on which music is written.
  5. An ensign of authority; a badge of office; as, a constable's staff. – Shak. Hayward.
  6. The round of a ladder. – Brown.
  7. A pole erected in a ship to hoist and display a flag; called a flag-staff. There is also a jack-staff, and an ensign-staff.
  8. [Fr. estafette, a courier or express; Dan. staffette; It. staffetta, an express; staffiere, a groom or servant; staffa, a stirrup; Sp. estafeta, a courier, a general past-office; estafero, a foot-boy, a stable-boy, an errand-boy; Port. estafeta, an express. This word seems to be formed from It. staffa, a stirrup, whence staffiere, a stirrup-holder or groom, whence a servant or horseman sent express.] In military affairs, an establishment of officers in various departments, attached to an army, or to the commander of an army. The staff includes officers not of the line, as adjutants, quarter-masters, chaplain, surgeon, &c. The staff is the medium of communication from the commander in chief to every department of an army.
  9. [Ice. stef.] A stanza; a series of verses so disposed that when it is concluded, the same order begins again. Cowley found out that no kind of staff is proper for a heroic poem, as being all too lyrical. – Dryden.

Staff
  1. A long piece of wood; a stick; the long handle of an instrument or weapon; a pole or srick, used for many purposes; as, a surveyor's staff; the staff of a spear or pike.

    And he put the staves into the rings on the sides of the altar to bear it withal. Ex. xxxviii. 7.

    With forks and staves the felon to pursue. Dryden.

  2. Plaster combined with fibrous and other materials so as to be suitable for sculpture in relief or in the round, or for forming flat plates or boards of considerable size which can be nailed to framework to make the exterior of a larger structure, forming joints which may afterward be repaired and concealed with fresh plaster.
  3. A stick carried in the hand for support or defense by a person walking; hence, a support; that which props or upholds.

    "Hooked staves." Piers Plowman.

    The boy was the very staff of my age. Shak.

    He spoke of it [beer] in "The Earnest Cry," and likewise in the "Scotch Drink," as one of the staffs of life which had been struck from the poor man's hand. Prof. Wilson.

  4. A pole, stick, or wand borne as an ensign of authority; a badge of office; as, a constable's staff.

    Methought this staff, mine office badge in court,
    Was broke in twain.
    Shak.

    All his officers brake their staves; but at their return new staves were delivered unto them. Hayward.

  5. A pole upon which a flag is supported and displayed.
  6. The round of a ladder.

    [R.]

    I ascend at one [ladder] of six hundred and thirty-nine staves. Dr. J. Campbell (E. Brown's Travels).

  7. A series of verses so disposed that, when it is concluded, the same order begins again; a stanza; a stave.

    Cowley found out that no kind of staff is proper for an heroic poem, as being all too lyrical. Dryden.

  8. The five lines and the spaces on which music is written; -- formerly called stave.
  9. An arbor, as of a wheel or a pinion of a watch.
  10. The grooved director for the gorget, or knife, used in cutting for stone in the bladder.
  11. An establishment of officers in various departments attached to an army, to a section of an army, or to the commander of an army. The general's staff consists of those officers about his person who are employed in carrying his commands into execution. See État Major.
  12. Hence: A body of assistants serving to carry into effect the plans of a superintendant or manager; as, the staff of a newspaper.

    Jacob's staff (Surv.), a single straight rod or staff, pointed and iron-shod at the bottom, for penetrating the ground, and having a socket joint at the top, used, instead of a tripod, for supporting a compass. -- Staff angle (Arch.), a square rod of wood standing flush with the wall on each of its sides, at the external angles of plastering, to prevent their being damaged. -- The staff of life, bread. "Bread is the staff of life." Swift. -- Staff tree (Bot.), any plant of the genus Celastrus, mostly climbing shrubs of the northern hemisphere. The American species (C. scandens) is commonly called bittersweet. See 2d Bittersweet, 3 (b). -- To set, or To put, up, or down, one's staff, to take up one's residence; to lodge. [Obs.]

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Staff

STAFF, noun plural [G., a bar, a rod. The primary sense is to thrust, to shoot. See Stab.]

1. A stick carried in the hand for support or defense by a person walking; hence, a support; that which props or upholds. Bread is the proverbially called the staff of life.

The boy was the very staff of my age.

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalms 23:4.

2. A stick or club used as a weapon.

With forks and staves the felon they pursue.

3. A long piece of wood; a stick; the long handle of an instrument; a pole or stick, used for many purposes.

4. The five lines and the spaces on which music is written.

5. An ensign of authority; a badge of office; as a constables staff

6. The round of a ladder.

7. A pole erected in a ship to hoist and display a flag; called a flag-staff. There is also a jack-staff, and an ensign-staff.

8. In military affairs, an establishment of officers in various departments, attached to an army. The staff includes officers not of the line, as adjutants, quarter-masters, chaplain, surgeon, etc. The staff is the medium of communication from the commander in chief to every department of an army.

9. A stanza; a series of verses so disposed that when it is concluded, the same order begins again.

Cowley found out that no kind of staff is proper for a heroic poem, as being all too lyrical.

10. Stave and staves, plural of staff [See Stave.]

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Word of the Day

importance

IMPORT'ANCE, n.

1. Weight; consequence; a bearing on some interest; that quality of any thing by which it may affect a measure, interest or result. The education of youth is of great importance to a free government. A religious education is of infinite importance to every human being.

2. Weight or consequence in the scale of being.

Thy own importance know.

Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.

3. Weight or consequence in self-estimation.

He believes himself a man of importance.

4. Thing implied; matter; subject; importunity. [In these senses, obsolete.]

Random Word

antidotically

ANTIDO'TICALLY, adv. By way of antidote.

Noah's 1828 Dictionary

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Noah Webster, the Father of American Christian education, wrote the first American dictionary and established a system of rules to govern spelling, grammar, and reading. This master linguist understood the power of words, their definitions, and the need for precise word usage in communication to maintain independence. Webster used the Bible as the foundation for his definitions.

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