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3 definitions found
 for Distaff
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Distaff \Dis"taff\, n.; pl. Distaffs, rarely Distaves. [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.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              I will the distaff hold; come thou and spin.
                                                    --Fairfax.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     2. Used as a symbol of the holder of a distaff; hence, a
        woman; women, collectively.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              His crown usurped, a distaff on the throne.
                                                    --Dryden.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Some say the crozier, some say the distaff was too
              busy.                                 --Howell.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     Note: The plural is regular, but Distaves occurs in Beaumont
           & Fletcher.
           [1913 Webster]
  
     Descent by distaff, descent on the mother's 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.
        --Shipley.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  distaff
      adj 1: characteristic of or peculiar to a woman; "female
             sensitiveness"; "female suffrage" [syn: female,
             distaff]
      n 1: the sphere of work by women
      2: the staff on which wool or flax is wound before spinning

From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary :

  Distaff
     (Heb. pelek, a "circle"), the instrument used for twisting
     threads by a whirl (Prov. 31:19).
     

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