staple

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

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From Middle English staple, from Anglo-Norman estaple, Old French estaple (market, (trading) post), from Late Latin stapula, from Middle Dutch stapel (pillar; foundation; market), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *stapulaz (post), from Proto-Indo-European *stebʰ- (post, stem). Compare staff.

Noun[edit]

staple (countable and uncountable, plural staples)

  1. (now historical) A town containing merchants who have exclusive right, under royal authority, to purchase or produce certain goods for export; also, the body of such merchants seen as a group.
    • 1727, John Arbuthnot, Tables of Ancient Coins, Weights and Measures. Explain'd and exemplify'd in several dissertations
      The customs of Alexandria were very great, it having been the staple of the Indian trade.
    • 1821 January 8, [Walter Scott], Kenilworth; a Romance. [], volume (please specify |volume=I, II, or III), Edinburgh: [] Archibald Constable and Co.; and John Ballantyne, []; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., OCLC 277979407:
      For the increase of trade and the encouragement of the worthy burgesses of Woodstock, her majesty was minded to erect the town into a staple for wool.
    • 2011, Thomas Penn, Winter King, Penguin 2012, p. 73:
      Calais was one of the ‘principal treasures’ of the crown, of both strategic and economic importance. It was home to the staple, the crown-controlled marketplace for England's lucrative textile trade, whose substantial customs and tax revenues flooded into Henry's coffers.
  2. (by extension) Place of supply; source.
  3. The principal commodity produced in a town or region.
    • 1961 October, “Editorial: The importance of the "Roadrailer"”, in Trains Illustrated, page 577:
      The old staple of coal is a declining traffic; and what remains tends to be hauled a shorter distance, as new power stations are sited closer to coalfields.
  4. A basic or essential supply.
    Rice is a staple in the diet of many cultures.
  5. A recurring topic or character.
    • 2010, The Economist, Jul-Aug 2010, p. 27:
      In most countries, rubbish makes headlines only when it is not collected, and stinking sacks lie heaped on the streets. In Britain bins are a front-page staple.
  6. Short fiber, as of cotton, sheep’s wool, or the like, which can be spun into yarn or thread.
    Tow is flax with short staple.
  7. Unmanufactured material; raw material.
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

staple (third-person singular simple present staples, present participle stapling, simple past and past participle stapled)

  1. (transitive) To sort according to its staple.
    to staple cotton

Adjective[edit]

staple (not comparable)

  1. Relating to, or being market of staple for, commodities.
    a staple town
  2. Established in commerce; occupying the markets; settled.
    a staple trade
  3. Fit to be sold; marketable.
    • 1714 February, [Jonathan Swift], The Publick Spirit of the Whigs: Set forth in Their Generous Encouragement of the Author of the Crisis: [], 3rd edition, London: [] [John Barber] for John Morphew, [], published 1714, OCLC 1015508897:
      What needy writer would not solicit to work under such masters, who will pay us beforehand, take off as much of our ware as we please, at our own rates, and trouble not themselves to examine, either before or after they have bought it, whether it be staple, or not.
  4. Regularly produced or manufactured in large quantities; belonging to wholesale traffic; principal; chief.
    • 1818, Henry Hallam, View of the state of Europe during the Middle ages
      wool, the great staple commodity of England
    • 1929, M. Barnard Eldershaw, A House Is Built, Chapter VIII, Section ii:
      The pastoral industry, which had weathered the severe depression of the early forties by recourse to boiling down the sheep for their tallow, and was now firmly re-established as the staple industry of the colony, was threatened once more with eclipse.

Etymology 2[edit]

A box of staples

From Middle English stapel (staple, pillar, post), from Old English stapol (post, pillar), from Proto-Germanic *stapulaz, from Proto-Indo-European *stebʰ- (post, stem). See also Old English steppan (to step) and Old French estaple (post). Consider also stapes (stirrup), from Latin. Doublet of staple (etymology 1).

Noun[edit]

staple (plural staples)

  1. A wire fastener used to secure stacks of paper by penetrating all the sheets and curling around.
  2. A wire fastener used to secure something else by penetrating and curling.
    Can you believe they use staples to hold cars together these days?
  3. A U-shaped metal fastener, used to attach fence wire or other material to posts or structures.
    The rancher used staples to attach the barbed wire to the fence-posts.
    • 1855, Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom Chapter 3
      Esther's wrists were firmly tied, and the twisted rope was fastened to a strong staple in a heavy wooden joist above, near the fire-place. Here she stood, on a bench, her arms tightly drawn over her breast. Her back and shoulders were bare to the waist.
  4. One of a set of U-shaped metal rods hammered into a structure, such as a piling or wharf, which serve as a ladder.
    Fortunately, there were staples in the quay wall, and she was able to climb out of the water.
  5. (mining) A shaft, smaller and shorter than the principal one, joining different levels.
  6. A small pit.
  7. A district granted to an abbey.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Camden to this entry?)
  8. (obsolete) A post; prop; support
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

staple (third-person singular simple present staples, present participle stapling, simple past and past participle stapled)

  1. (transitive) To secure with a staple.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


German[edit]

Verb[edit]

staple

  1. inflection of stapeln:
    1. first-person singular present
    2. singular imperative
    3. first/third-person singular subjunctive I

Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Borrowed from Anglo-Norman staple (Old French estaple), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *stapulaz (post, pillar; basis, foundation). Doublet of stapel (post, stake).

Noun[edit]

staple (plural staples)

  1. staple (official market established by royal authority for selling export goods)
  2. staple (the town containing such market)
Alternative forms[edit]
Descendants[edit]
  • English: staple
  • Scots: stapill, staple, steple

References[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Noun[edit]

staple (plural staples)

  1. Alternative form of stapel