Thursday, March 13, 2008

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

The Word of the Day for March 13 is:

distaff \DISS-taff\ adjective

1 a : related through a mother b : inherited or derived from the female parent
*2 : female

Example sentence:
The Solheim Cup pits America's best distaff golfers against the top European women.

Did you know?
A distaff was originally a short staff that held a bundle of fibers -- of flax or wool, for example -- ready to be spun into yarn or thread. Since spinning was a basic daily task customarily done by women, the distaff came to be the symbol for the work or domain of women. This symbolic use of the noun "distaff" dates back to the time of Chaucer and is found in several works by Shakespeare. Eventually "distaff" came to be used for the female branch of a family and then as an adjective, as in "the distaff side of the family."

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Batty said...

Yes. People I know have them. In the village where my mother grew up, many women still spin their own yarn, and if they are lucky enough to own a wheel, they can usually also afford a distaff.

cyndy said...

...also known as the rock!