Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR DISTAFF

They may find they have more tow on their distaff than they know how to spin.

Thus are they represented on a medal, each with a distaff in her hand.

Then Wainamoinen took the pieces of her distaff and set to work.

The improvement on the distaff and spindle was the spinning wheel.

What followed the distaff and spindle in the development of spinning?

This distaff, which I have taken at random, decides the fate of all who are born while I am spinning it.

She answered the third without hesitation, that it was a Distaff.

The door was open, and he saw a girl at work with her distaff.

The distaff had to be recovered before the question could be considered.

“There is meetness in all things,” said the old lady, picking up her distaff.

WORD ORIGIN

Old English distæf "stick that holds flax for spinning," from dis- "bunch of flax" (cf. Middle Low German dise, Low German diesse "a bunch of flax on a distaff;" see bedizen) + stæf "stick, staff" (see staff).

A synonym in English for "the female sex, female authority in the family," since at least the late 1400s, probably because in the Middle Ages spinning was typically done by women. St. Distaff's Day was Jan. 7, when "women resumed their spinning and other ordinary employments after the holidays" [OED].

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR DISTAFF

muliebrity

nounfemininity
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.