SKIP TO CONTENT

stave

A stave is the crosspiece between the legs of a chair or a wooden slat forming the side of a barrel. In music, it's the five lines you write notes on.

Stave comes from the word staff, as in a walking stick. You're most likely to encounter the word stave if you're learning woodworking. If someone "staves in" a door, they've broken a hole in it. You also might hear the idiom "stave off," which means to hold off for a short time.

Definitions of stave
  1. noun
    one of several thin slats of wood forming the sides of a barrel or bucket
    synonyms: lag
    see moresee less
    type of:
    slat, spline
    a thin strip (wood or metal)
  2. noun
    a crosspiece between the legs of a chair
    synonyms: round, rung
    see moresee less
    type of:
    crosspiece
    a transverse brace
  3. noun
    (music) the system of five horizontal lines on which the musical notes are written
    synonyms: staff
    see moresee less
    type of:
    musical notation
    (music) notation used by musicians
  4. verb
    burst or force (a hole) into something
    synonyms: stave in
    see moresee less
    type of:
    break open, burst, split
    come open suddenly and violently, as if from internal pressure
  5. verb
    furnish with staves
    stave a ladder”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    equip, fit, fit out, outfit
    provide with (something) usually for a specific purpose
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week