Dictionary > Distaff


Origin: oe. Distaf, dysestafe, as. Distaef; cf. LG. Diesse the bunch of flax on a distaff, and E. Dizen. See staff.
1. The staff for holding a bunch of flax, tow, or wool, from which the thread is drawn in spinning by hand. I will the distaff hold; come thou and spin. (Fairfax)
2. Used as a symbol of the holder of a distaff; hence, a woman; women, collectively. His crown usurped, a distaff on the throne. (Dryden) Some say the crozier, some say the distaff was too busy. (Howell)
The plural is regular, but Distaves occurs in Beaumont & Fletcher. Descent by distaff, descent on the mothers side. Distaff day, or Distaff’s day, the morrow of the epiphany, that is, January 7, because working at the distaff was then resumed, after the christmas festival; called also rock day, a distaff being called a rock.

You will also like...

human brain structure
The Conscious & Unconscious Nervous System

This tutorial elaborates on how the nervous system works, particularly at the tissue level of the brain. There are three..

Neural Control Mechanisms
Neural Control Mechanisms

Neurons generate electric signals that they pass along to the other neurons or target tissues. In this tutorial, you wil..


Stems primarily provide plants structural support. This tutorial includes lectures on the external form of a woody twig ..

Protein (illustration)
Protein Variety

The sequence of amino acids determines the type of protein. Protein is synthesized according to the sequence of nucleoti..

Body temperature regulation by the hypothalamus
Temperature Regulation in Animals

This tutorial elucidates body temperature regulation. Know the details here to learn how the body sets the body temperat..

Animal Water Regulation

Animals adapt to their environment in aspects of anatomy, physiology, and behavior. This tutorial will help you understa..