/kwawr"teuhr staf', -stahf'/, n., pl. quarterstaves /-stayvz'/, quarterstaffs.
1. a former English weapon consisting of a stout pole 6 to 8 ft. (1.8 to 2.4 m) long, tipped with iron.
2. exercise or fighting with this weapon.
[1540-50; QUARTER + STAFF1]

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 a staff of wood from 6 to 9 feet (about 2 to 3 m) long, used for attack and defense. It is probably the cudgel or sapling with which many legendary heroes are described as being armed. The quarterstaff attained great popularity in England during the Middle Ages. It was usually made of oak, the ends often being shod with iron, and it was held with both hands, the right hand grasping it one-quarter of the distance from the lower end (hence the name) and the left at about the middle. The staff was used as a foil, or practice substitute, for the long, two-handed sword of the period. In earlier times, it may also have been used as a practice weapon for the spear and pike.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • quarterstaff — [kwôrt′ər staf΄] n. pl. quarterstaves [kwôrt′ərstāvz΄] 1. a stout, iron tipped, wooden staff, six to eight feet long, formerly used in England as a weapon 2. the use of the quarterstaff in fighting, often as a sport …   English World dictionary

  • Quarterstaff — Quar ter*staff , n.; pl. {Quarterstaves}. A long and stout staff formerly used as a weapon of defense and offense; so called because in holding it one hand was placed in the middle, and the other between the middle and the end. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • quarterstaff — (n.) 1550s, stout pole, six to eight feet long, tipped with iron, formerly a weapon used by the English peasantry. The exact sense of quarter is uncertain here; it may be from a tree of a certain size cut into quarters …   Etymology dictionary

  • quarterstaff — ► NOUN ▪ a stout pole 6 8 feet long, formerly used as a weapon …   English terms dictionary

  • Quarterstaff — A quarterstaff is a medieval English weapon, consisting of a shaft of hardwood, sometimes with metal reinforced tips. The name is also used for the fighting staves of other cultures, such as the Japanese bō , Chinese gùn , or French bâton .… …   Wikipedia

  • quarterstaff — n. long wooden pole with reinforced iron tips (used as a weapon); fighting with a quarterstaff …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Quarterstaff — a long, stout pole, caarried for personal defense, and sport, in England. The English swordsman, George Silver, said the staff should be as tall as the user’s outstretched finger tips, when he lifted his hand above his head, and as thick as a… …   Medieval glossary

  • quarterstaff — noun (plural quarterstaves) Date: circa 1550 a long stout staff formerly used as a weapon and wielded with one hand in the middle and the other between the middle and the end …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • quarterstaff — noun /ˈkwɔrtərˌstæf/ A long wooden staff or pole used as a weapon …   Wiktionary

  • quarterstaff — quar|ter|staff [ˈkwo:təsta:f US ˈkwo:rtərstæf] n a long wooden pole that was used as a weapon in the past …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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