Definition of distaff side in English:

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distaff side


1The female side of a family: the family title could be passed down through the distaff side The opposite of spear side.
More example sentences
  • Here are some idle ramblings from the distaff side of my family.
  • It was the distaff side of my descent that appealed most to me.
  • This page explores the life of the distaff side of families from each of three classes.
1.1The female members of a group: this fascination was not limited to the distaff side of society
More example sentences
  • This victory was perhaps consolation for the western side that received a pasting earlier on the distaff side.
  • On the plus side four men and just two women meant that the distaff side had definitely got the best bargain on personal space.
  • Her status as a widow is indicative of the exclusively female nature of the business, whose secrets travelled down the distaff side only and whose product treated ‘Female Complaints’ alone.


Late 19th century: because spinning (see distaff) was traditionally done by women while men did the weaving.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dis·taff side

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