Staff means everyone who works at a particular place. You might suspect that the town library’s not a very fun place to work if its staff is always incredibly cranky every time you visit.

Staff refers to all of the employees at a business, or especially a school, where the teachers as a group are called “the staff.” A completely different meaning of staff is a long wooden stick or rod, particularly one that has a specific purpose — like a walking stick or a weapon. This is the original meaning of staff, from the Old English stæf. It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that the word staff was used to mean “group of employees.”

Definitions of staff
  1. noun

    a strong rod or stick with a specialized utilitarian purpose

    “he walked with the help of a wooden
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    a stout staff with a metal point; used by mountain climbers

    a short staff carried by some officials to symbolize an office or an authority
    crook, shepherd’s crook

    a long staff with one end being hook shaped

    a wooden or metal staff that fits under the armpit and reaches to the ground; used by disabled person while walking

    the staff on which wool or flax is wound before spinning
    flagpole, flagstaff

    a tall staff or pole on which a flag is raised

    the staff of a pike

    a long stout staff used as a weapon
    type of:


    an implement consisting of a length of wood

  2. noun

    a rod carried as a symbol

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    crosier, crozier

    a staff surmounted by a crook or cross carried by bishops as a symbol of pastoral office

    a ceremonial staff carried as a symbol of office or authority
    scepter, sceptre, verge, wand

    a ceremonial or emblematic staff

    staff with a metal tip carried as a sign of office by e.g. a bailiff or constable

    a mock scepter carried by a court jester
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    an arbitrary sign (written or printed) that has acquired a conventional significance

  3. noun

    (music) the system of five horizontal lines on which the musical notes are written

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    type of:

    musical notation

    (music) notation used by musicians

  4. noun

    personnel who assist their superior in carrying out an assigned task

    “the hospital has an excellent nursing
    “the general relied on his
    staff to make routine decisions”
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    the staff of a newspaper or the news department of a periodical
    office, office staff

    professional or clerical workers in an office
    research staff

    a group of associated research workers in a university or library or laboratory
    sales staff

    those in a business who are responsible for sales
    security staff

    those in an organization responsible for preventing spying or theft
    maintenance staff, service staff

    those in a business responsible for maintaining the physical plant
    general staff

    military officers assigned to assist a senior officer in planning military policy
    headquarters staff

    military staff stationed at headquarters
    type of:

    force, personnel

    group of people willing to obey orders

  5. noun

    the body of teachers and administrators at a school

    “the dean addressed the letter to the entire
    staff of the university”
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    type of:


    a group of persons associated by some common tie or occupation and regarded as an entity

  6. verb

    serve on the staff of

    “The two men
    staff the reception desk”
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    type of:


    do duty or hold offices; serve in a specific function

  7. verb

    provide with staff

    “This position is not always
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    provide with workers

    serve as a crew member on
    type of:

    cater, ply, provide, supply

    give what is desired or needed, especially support, food or sustenance

  8. noun

    building material consisting of plaster and hair; used to cover external surfaces of temporary structure (as at an exposition) or for decoration

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    type of:

    building material

    material used for constructing buildings

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