What does staff mean?

Definitions for staff
stæf, stɑfstaff

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word staff.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. staffnoun

    personnel who assist their superior in carrying out an assigned task

    "the hospital has an excellent nursing staff"; "the general relied on his staff to make routine decisions"

  2. staffnoun

    a strong rod or stick with a specialized utilitarian purpose

    "he walked with the help of a wooden staff"

  3. staff, facultynoun

    the body of teachers and administrators at a school

    "the dean addressed the letter to the entire staff of the university"

  4. staffnoun

    building material consisting of plaster and hair; used to cover external surfaces of temporary structure (as at an exposition) or for decoration

  5. staffnoun

    a rod carried as a symbol

  6. staff, staveverb

    (music) the system of five horizontal lines on which the musical notes are written

  7. staffverb

    provide with staff

    "This position is not always staffed"

  8. staffverb

    serve on the staff of

    "The two men staff the reception desk"


  1. Staffnoun

    Hence: A body of assistants serving to carry into effect the plans of a superintendent or manager; sometimes used for the entire group of employees of an enterprise, excluding the top management; as, the staff of a newspaper.


  1. staffnoun

    a long, straight stick, especially one used to assist in walking.

  2. staffnoun

    A series of horizontal lines on which musical notes are written.

  3. staffnoun

    The employees of a business.

    The company employed 10 new staff this month.

  4. staffnoun

    A mixture of plaster and fibre used as a temporary exterior wall covering (see Wikipedia article)

  5. staffverb

    to supply (a business) with employees

  6. Etymology: stæf, from stabaz. Cognate with Dutch staf, German Stab, Swedish stav.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. STAFFnoun

    plur. staves.

    Etymology: stæf , Saxon; staff, Danish; staff, Dutch.

    It much would please him,
    That of his fortunes you would make a staff
    To lean upon. William Shakespeare, Ant. and Cleopatra.

    Grant me and my people the benefit of thy chastisements, that thy rod as well as thy staff may comfort us. Charles I .

    Is it probable that he, who had met whole armies in battle, should now throw away his staff, out of fear of a dog. William Broome.

    Hope is a lover’s staff; walk hence with that,
    And manage it against despairing thoughts. William Shakespeare.

    The boy was the very staff of my age, my very prop. William Shakespeare.

    I cannot strike at wretched kernes, whose arms
    Are hir’d to bear their staves. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    He that bought the skin ran greater risque than t’other that sold it, and had the worse end of the staff. Roger L'Estrange.

    With forks and staves the felon they pursue. Dryden.

    He forthwith from the glitt’ring staff unfurl’d
    Th’ imperial ensign. John Milton.

    To his single eye, that in his forehead glar’d
    Like a full moon, or a broad burnish’d shield,
    A forky staff we dext’rously apply’d,
    Which, in the spacious socket turning round,
    Scoopt out the big round gelly from its orb. Addison.

    Methought this staff, mine office-badge in court,
    Was broke in twain. William Shakespeare, Henry VI.

    All his officers brake their staves; but at their return new staves were delivered unto them. John Hayward, on Edward VI.

    Cowley found out that no kind of staff is proper for an heroick poem, as being all too lyrical; yet though he wrote in couplets, where rhyme is freer from constraint, he affects half verses. Dryden.


  1. staff

    Staff refers to all the people employed by a particular organization, commonly in roles like administration, management, or production. This group of individuals is responsible for efficiently carrying out the daily operations, contributing to the organization’s goals and objectives.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Staffnoun

    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

  2. Staffnoun

    a stick carried in the hand for support or defense by a person walking; hence, a support; that which props or upholds

  3. Staffnoun

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

  4. Staffnoun

    a pole upon which a flag is supported and displayed

  5. Staffnoun

    the round of a ladder

  6. Staffnoun

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

  7. Staffnoun

    the five lines and the spaces on which music is written; -- formerly called stave

  8. Staffnoun

    an arbor, as of a wheel or a pinion of a watch

  9. Staffnoun

    the grooved director for the gorget, or knife, used in cutting for stone in the bladder

  10. Staffnoun

    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 Etat Major

  11. Staffnoun

    hence: A body of assistants serving to carry into effect the plans of a superintendant or manager; as, the staff of a newspaper

  12. Etymology: [G. staffiren to fill or fit out, adorn, fr. D. stoffeeren, OF. estoffer, F. toffer, fr. OF. estoffe stuff, F. toffe. See Stuff, n.]


  1. Staff

    A military staff is a group of officers and enlisted personnel that are responsible for the administrative, operational and logistical needs of its unit. It provides bi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer and subordinate military units. A staff also provides an executive function where it filters information needed by the commander or shunts unnecessary information.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Staff

    staf, n. a stick carried for support or defence: a prop: a long piece of wood: pole: a flagstaff: the long handle of an instrument: a stick or ensign of authority: the five lines and spaces on which music is written: a stanza (the previous meanings have pl. Staffs or Staves, stāvz): a body of skilled officers whose duty it is, under orders from the commanding officers of various grades, to arrange the movements and supply of the various bodies which go to make up an army: a similar body of persons in any undertaking, acting under a manager or chief (the last two meanings have pl. Staffs, stafs).—ns. Staff′-captain, the senior grade in the navigating branch in the British navy; Staff′-coll′ege, a college where military officers are trained in the higher branches of professional knowledge, and prepared for holding staff-appointments; Staff′-corps, a body of intelligent officers and men who performed engineering and siege duties, made reconnaissances, &c. during the wars of Wellington; (Indian) a body of British officers serving on the permanent Indian establishment, appointed from it to do duty with native regiments, &c.; Staff′-dū′ty, the occupation of an officer who serves on a staff, having been detached from his regiment; Staff′-notā′tion, musical notation in which a staff is used, as opposed to the tonic-solfa system; Staff′-sur′geon, a navy surgeon of senior grade; Staff′-sys′tem, a block-system in use on single-line railways in which the station-master gives the engine-driver a staff authorising him to proceed over a given portion. [A.S. stæf; Ice. stafr, Ger. stab.]

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. staff

    See multinational staff; integrated staff; joint staff; parallel staff; special staff.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. staff

    A light pole erected in different parts of a ship, whereon to hoist and display the colours; as, the ensign-staff, reared immediately over the stern; the jack-staff, fixed on the bowsprit-cap. In military affairs, the staff includes all officials not having direct and specific military command, as the adjutant-general, quartermaster-general, majors of brigade, aides-de-camp, &c. This term has been unaccountably pilfered by the admiralty lately from the army, as a prefix to a naval title.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. staff

    The staff of an army consists of a body of skilled officers whose duty it is to combine and give vitality to the movements and mechanical action of the several regiments and drilled bodies composing the force. The distinction between an officer on the staff of an army and a regimental officer is that the latter is concerned with his own regiment alone, while the former deals with his army (of course under the orders of his commanding officer), or section of an army, and regulates the combined action of the several arms and bodies of men. A good staff is all-important to the success of a military enterprise. In the British service the general staff of an army comprises the general in actual command, with the subordinate generals commanding the several divisions and brigades; as assistants to these the officers of the adjutant-general’s department,—i.e., the adjutant-general, his deputy, assistants, and deputy-assistants, if the army be large enough to require them all. Similarly, the officers of the quartermaster-general’s department; the brigade-major; the provost-marshal, and the judge-advocate.

Suggested Resources

  1. staff

    The staff symbol -- In this Symbols.com article you will learn about the meaning of the staff symbol and its characteristic.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. STAFF

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Staff is ranked #14191 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Staff surname appeared 2,116 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Staff.

    90.8% or 1,923 total occurrences were White.
    3.6% or 77 total occurrences were Black.
    3.5% or 76 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    0.9% or 21 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    0.5% or 11 total occurrences were Asian.
    0.3% or 8 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'staff' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #403

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'staff' in Written Corpus Frequency: #616

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'staff' in Nouns Frequency: #145

How to pronounce staff?

How to say staff in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of staff in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of staff in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of staff in a Sentence

  1. Sarah Rawdin:

    The work doesn't stop and so we just keep working, there's just so much extra work with COVID, it's not uncommon for me to see emails come through regarding COVID cases well into the evening and I know that my staff has stayed unfortunately they haven't gone home on time because of the workload, and just trying to get everything done and keep everybody safe.

  2. The BSA:

    The Boy Scouts care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in scouting, at no time have The Boy Scouts ever knowingly allowed a perpetrator to work with youth, and The Boy Scouts mandate that all leaders, volunteers and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegation to law enforcement.

  3. Marty Lenss:

    The Travel Well program will provide an efficient approach to screening passengers and employees, mercy established the protocols at their hospital and clinics as part of its COVID-19 response to ensure the safety of its staff and patients.

  4. Ryan Williams:

    There’s a finite pool of talent for presidential campaigns available, and in large, multi-candidate fields there’s intense competition for them. You see this before every presidential cycle when there’s an open shot at the nomination, additionally, even though President Trump starts as the front-runner for the Republican nomination, there’s a lot of trepidation among staffers about working for him. He’s been volatile in the past, and staff haven’t always ended their service with him on great terms. So there’s a desire to look at some of the other candidates in the field and jump on board.

  5. Mike Enzi:

    I like doing legislation. I've developed a pathway that brings people together. I've gotten to work with an incredible staff that have made it possible to do more than a senator by himself could do.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for staff

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"staff." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 26 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/staff>.

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    actively or fully engaged or occupied
    A noninvasive
    B frantic
    C busy
    D blistering

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