1a stick or spindle on to which wool or flax is wound for spinning.
2 [as modifier] of or concerning women:marriage is still the passport to distaff power
the distaff side
the female side of a family:the family title could be passed down through the distaff sideThe opposite of the spear side.
Old Englishdistæf: the first element is apparently related to Middle Low German dise, disene 'distaff, bunch of flax'; the second is staff1. sense 2 arose because spinning was traditionally done by women
distaff in other Oxford dictionaries
Definition of distaff in the US English dictionary