Pronunciation Noun

stave (plural staves)

  1. One of a number of narrow strips of wood, or narrow iron plates, placed edge to edge to form the sides, covering, or lining of a vessel or structure; especially, one of the strips which form the sides of a cask, a pail, etc.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, 2 Chronicles 5:8 ↗:
      For the Cherubims ſpread foorth their wings ouer the place of the Arke, and the Cherubims couered the Arke and the ſtaues thereof, aboue.
  2. One of the bars or rounds of a rack, rungs of a ladder, etc; one of the cylindrical bars of a lantern wheel
  3. (poetry) A metrical portion; a stanza; a staff.
    • Let us chant a passing stave / In honour of that hero brave.
  4. (music) The five horizontal and parallel lines on and between which musical notes are written or pointed; the staff.
  5. A staff or walking stick.
  6. A sign, symbol or sigil, including rune or rune-like characters, used in Icelandic magic.
Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • French: portée
  • German: Notenlinien, Notensystem
  • Italian: pentagramma
  • Russian: но́тный стан
  • Russian: по́сох

stave (staves, present participle staving; past and past participle stove)

  1. (transitive) To fit or furnish with staves or rundles. [from 1540s]
  2. (transitive, usually with 'in') To break in the staves of; to break a hole in; to burst. [from 1590s]
    to stave in a cask
    • 1743, Robert Drury (sailor), The Pleasant, and Surprizing Adventures of Mr. Robert Drury, during his Fifteen Years Captivity on the Island of Madagascar, London, p. 12,
      A great Sea constant runs here upon the Rocks, and before they got to Land their Boat was stav’d in Pieces […]
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 22:
      Be careful in the hunt, ye mates. Don’t stave the boats needlessly, ye harpooneers; good white cedar plank is raised full three per cent within the year.
  3. (transitive, with 'off') To push, or keep off, as with a staff. [from 1620s]
    • The condition of a servant staves him off to a distance.
  4. (transitive, usually with 'off') To delay by force or craft; to drive away.
    We ate grass in an attempt to stave off our hunger.
  5. (intransitive, rare or archaic) To burst in pieces by striking against something.
  6. (intransitive, old-fashioned or dialect) To walk or move rapidly.
  7. To suffer, or cause to be lost by breaking the cask.
    • All the wine in the city has been staved.
  8. To render impervious or solid by driving with a calking iron.
    to stave lead, or the joints of pipes into which lead has been run

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