Noun Distaff Definition and Examples







A stick or spindle on to which wool or flax is wound for spinning.
  1. 'As well, the greater efficiency of the spinning wheel probably led to lower piecework rates for all spinning, whether with distaff or wheel, despite the fact that wheel-spun yarn was not always the suitable material.'
  2. 'Her profession seems almost engraved in her form as she holds the distaff under her arm, draws the thread skillfully from it, and winds it on the bobbin with her other hand, all the while looking fixedly, eyes not quite focused, at us.'
  3. 'While we have land to labor, let us never wish to see our citizens occupied at a workbench or twirling a distaff.'
  4. 'The distaff by Barbauld's account is not restricted to women, nor is it a degradation to be employed by men.'
  5. 'Often she walked to town with her distaff in her hand, spinning as she went; and sometimes she came back with a small jar of wine balanced on her head, in the fashion of the peasant girls.'
Of or concerning women.
  1. 'It's just that Tim Davis, Scott Peterman, Dan Torop and Mark Wyse, although as adept as their distaff colleagues, have less in common.'
  2. 'At first glance, it feels like a distaff version of the same revenge saga, but gradually it reveals itself as even more baroque than its immediate predecessor.'
  3. 'It rankled, this meeting, closed to them in the same way the ranks of management had once been closed to their distaff counterparts.'
  4. 'Well, at least they've brought back Daniel Jackson, pleasing the distaff fans.'
  5. 'In the absence of anything more appealing just now, concocting distaff versions of some of the sport's more illustrious bouts from the past is reckoned to be good business.'
  6. 'Now that the studios cater to ever younger audiences with ever younger stars in ever goofier vehicles, actors (especially the distaff members of the profession) are considered over the hill at thirty-five.'
  7. 'You read that right: finally, the distaff gamer can create her own digital counterpart.'
  8. 'The distaff decision was delivered to Brenda Raganot.'
  9. 'Fillies and mares will benefit the most from the increased racing opportunities with seven new races restricted to the distaff division.'
  10. 'Nor do we get any insight into what drives his distaff nemesis, aside from a wholly generic motivation, and a fuzzy one at that.'
((n.) The staff for holding a bunch of flax, tow, or wool, from which the thread is drawn in spinning by hand.|--|(n.) Used as a symbol of the holder of a distaff; hence, a woman; women, collectively.|--|)


1. a staff with a cleft end for holding wool, flax, etc., from which the thread is drawn in spinning by hand.

2. a similar attachment on a spinning wheel.

3. Archaic. a woman or women collectively. women's work. adjective

4. Sometimes Offensive. noting, pertaining to, characteristic of, or suitable for a female.See also distaff side.

Old English distæf: the first element is apparently related to Middle Low German dise, disene ‘distaff, bunch of flax’; the second is staff. distaff (sense 2 of the noun) arose because spinning was traditionally done by women.

Similar Nouns to Distaff

List of Nouns that Start with A-Z

List of Nouns that End with A-Z

List of Nouns by Length

3 letters4 letters5 letters6 letters7 letters8 letters9 letters10 letters11 letters12 letters