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distaff

distaff a stick or spindle on to which wool or flax is wound for spinning; in extended usage, used as modifier, as in distaff side ’the female side of a family’ to mean of or concerning women. The word is recorded from Old English (in form distæf); the first element is apparently related to Middle Low German dise, disene ‘distaff, bunch of flax’, the second is staff. The extended sense arose because spinning was traditionally done by women.
St Distaff's day the day after Twelfth Day or the Feast of the Epiphany, on which day (7 January) women resumed their spinning and other ordinary employments after the holidays.

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"distaff." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"distaff." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/distaff

"distaff." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved June 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/distaff

distaff

dis·taff / ˈdistaf/ • n. a stick or spindle onto which wool or flax is wound for spinning. ∎  [as adj.] of or concerning women.

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"distaff." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"distaff." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/distaff-1

"distaff." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved June 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/distaff-1

distaff

distaff stick to hold material to be spun. OE. distæf, a peculiarly Eng. word; f. the base of MLG. dise(ne) distaff, bunch of flax (LG. diesse); the second el. is STAFF.

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"distaff." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"distaff." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/distaff-2

"distaff." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved June 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/distaff-2

distaff

distaff: see spinning.

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"distaff." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"distaff." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/distaff

"distaff." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/distaff

distaff

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"distaff." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"distaff." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/distaff-0

"distaff." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved June 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/distaff-0