Distaff meaning

dĭstăf
Work and concerns traditionally considered important to women.
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Of or relating to women and girls; female.
adjective
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Relating to or being the female line or maternal branch of a family.
adjective
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A staff on which fibers, as flax or wool, are wound before being spun into thread.
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The part of a spinning wheel from which fibre is drawn to be spun.
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Women considered as a group.
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Woman's work or concerns.
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(archaic) Woman, or women in general.
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Female; specif., designating the maternal side of a family.
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A device to which a bundle of natural fibres (often wool, flax, or cotton) are attached for temporary storage, before being drawn off gradually to spin thread. A traditional distaff is a staff with flax fibres tied loosely to it (see Etymology), but modern distaffs are often made of cords weighted with beads, and attached to the wrist.
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Anything traditionally done by or considered of importance to women only.
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A woman, or women considered as a group.
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Of, relating to, or characteristic of women.
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Referring to the maternal side of a family.

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Origin of distaff

  • Middle English distaf from Old English distæf dis- bunch of flax Middle Dutch disen to prepare a distaff with flax dizen stæf staff

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English distaf, from Old English distæf (“distaff”), from Old English *dis (cognate with Middle Low German dise (“bunch of flax”)) + Old English stæf (“staff”).

    From Wiktionary