Definition of stave in English:

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Pronunciation: /steɪv/


Image of stave
1A vertical wooden post or plank in a building or other structure.
Example sentences
  • It's like a workshop in Hades - you feel the heat from barrels set over open fires in the floor and hear the piercing din of hammers on steel as hoops are pounded onto staves.
  • Cutting staves led to the purchase of a kiln, which, in turn, opened up additional markets.
  • Here there were no men training, only a few targets and a pile of wooden staves in the corner.
1.1Any of the lengths of wood fixed side by side to make a barrel, bucket, or other container.
Example sentences
  • Experiments with brandy as well as wine, however, demonstrate the superiority of air-dried over kiln-dried wood for barrel staves.
  • To illustrate this, Liebig imagined a barrel crafted out of staves of mismatched lengths.
  • The wood of the stave and arrow shafts was dark with moisture.
1.2A strong wooden stick or iron pole used as a weapon.
Example sentences
  • In the center lie a pile of wooden swords, staves, daggers, shields.
  • Every character has swords, staves or other edged weaponry, which you can perform light spin attacks or strong power strikes on opponents.
  • The two guards were confronted by four men in balaclavas, armed with a small samurai sword and wooden staves.
2 (also staff) Music , British A set of five parallel lines on any one or between any adjacent two of which a note is written to indicate its pitch.
Example sentences
  • A typical graph contains one or more grand staves, or piano staves, so one will likely begin with a piano template.
  • In his Alphabet des mouvements du corps humain he placed movement symbols on a special stave while recording the floor patterns above it.
3A verse or stanza of a poem.


[with object]
1 (past and past participle staved or stove /stəʊv/) (stave something in) Break something by forcing it inwards or piercing it roughly: the door was staved in
break in, smash in, put a hole in, push in, kick in, cave in, splinter, shiver, fracture
2 (past and past participle staved) (stave something off) Avert or delay something bad or dangerous: a reassuring presence can stave off a panic attack
More example sentences
  • But, largely thanks to the efforts of the ‘Save the Jags’ campaign, under whose auspices Thistle supporters rallied to raise funds, the immediate threat of closure was staved off.
  • In cults and controlling groups the crisis of admitting that everything one has believed is wrong is staved off by finding new explanations for discrepancies in the group's ideas and rules.
  • But at least you've staved it off for 30, 40 years so that you don't get those proportionate deadly results.
avert, prevent, avoid, preclude, rule out, counter, forestall, nip in the bud;
ward off, fend off, head off, keep off, keep at bay


Middle English: back-formation from staves, archaic plural of staff1. Current senses of the verb date from the early 17th century.

  • Old English staff ‘walking stick’ had a plural staves, which with the -s dropped became stave—the sort of stick from which you could built a barrel. Use as a musical term for a set of lines for musical notation dates from the early 19th century. Current senses of the verb date from the early 17th century, with stave off—fend off as if with a staff—found from the same date.

Words that rhyme with stave

behave, brave, Cave, clave, concave, crave, Dave, deprave, engrave, enslave, fave, forgave, gave, grave, knave, lave, Maeve, misbehave, misgave, nave, outbrave, pave, rave, save, shave, shortwave, slave, they've, waive, wave

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: stave

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