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  1  definition  found 
  From  Webster's  Revised  Unabridged  Dictionary  (1913)  [web1913]: 
  Distaff  \Dis"taff\,  n.;  pl  {Distaffs},  rarely  {Distaves}.  [OE. 
  distaf,  dysestafe  AS  distaef;  cf  LG  diesse  the  bunch  of 
  flax  on  a  distaff,  and  E.  dizen.  See  {Staff}.] 
  1.  The  staff  for  holding  a  bunch  of  flax,  tow,  or  wool,  from 
  which  the  thread  is  drawn  in  spinning  by  hand. 
  I  will  the  distaff  hold  come  thou  and  spin. 
  2.  Used  as  a  symbol  of  the  holder  of  a  distaff;  hence  a 
  woman;  women,  collectively. 
  His  crown  usurped,  a  distaff  on  the  throne. 
  Some  say  the  crozier,  some  say  the  distaff  was  too 
  busy.  --Howell. 
  Note:  The  plural  is  regular,  but  Distaves  occurs  in  Beaumont 
  &  Fletcher. 
  {Descent  by  distaff},  descent  on  the  mother's  side 
  {Distaff  Day},  or  {Distaff's  Day},  the  morrow  of  the 
  Epiphany,  that  is  January  7,  because  working  at  the 
  distaff  was  then  resumed,  after  the  Christmas  festival;  -- 
  called  also  {Rock  Day},  a  distaff  being  called  a  rock.