Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
distaff (plural distaffs)
- a device to which a bundle of natural fibres (often wool, flax, or cotton) are attached for temporary storage, before being drawn off gradually to spin thread. A traditional distaff is a staff with flax fibres tied loosely to it (see Etymology), but modern distaffs are often made of cords weighted with beads, and attached to the wrist.
- the part of a spinning wheel from which fibre is drawn to be spun
- anything traditionally done by or considered of importance to women only
- a woman, or women considered as a group
- His crown usurped, a distaff on the throne.
- Some say the crozier, some say the distaff was too busy.
- For usage examples of this term, see Citations:distaff.
part of a spinning wheel
anything traditionally done by or considered of importance to women only
women considered as a group
distaff (not comparable)
- of, relating to, or characteristic of women
- referring to the maternal side of a family
1892, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Noble Bachelor”, in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, HTML edition, The Gutenberg Project, published 2011:
- They inherit Plantagenet blood by direct descent, and Tudor on the distaff side.
of, relating to, or characteristic of women