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STADT'HOLD-ER, n. [D. stadt, a city, and houder, holder.]

Formerly, the chief magistrate of the United Provinces of Holland; or the governor or lieutenant governor of a province.


The office of a stadtholder.

STAFF, n. [plur. Staffs. Sax. stæf, a stick or club, a pole, a crook, a prop or support, a letter, an epistle; stæfn, stefn, the voice; D. staf, a staff, scepter or crook; staaf, a bar; G. stab, a staff, a bar, a rod; Dan. stab, stav, id.; stavn, stævn, the prow of a ship, that is, a projection, that which shoots out; Fr. douve. The primary sense is to thrust, to shoot. See Stab.]

  1. A stick carried in the hand for support or defense by a person walking; hence, a support; that which props or upholds. Bread is proverbially called the staff of life. The boy was the very staff of my age. – Shak. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. – Ps. xxiii.
  2. A stick or club used as a weapon. With forks and staffs the felon they pursue. – Dryden.
  3. A long piece of wood; a stick; the long handle of an instrument; a pole or stick, used for many purposes.
  4. The five lines and the spaces on which music is written.
  5. An ensign of authority; a badge of office; as, a constable's staff. – Shak. Hayward.
  6. The round of a ladder. – Brown.
  7. A pole erected in a ship to hoist and display a flag; called a flag-staff. There is also a jack-staff, and an ensign-staff.
  8. [Fr. estafette, a courier or express; Dan. staffette; It. staffetta, an express; staffiere, a groom or servant; staffa, a stirrup; Sp. estafeta, a courier, a general past-office; estafero, a foot-boy, a stable-boy, an errand-boy; Port. estafeta, an express. This word seems to be formed from It. staffa, a stirrup, whence staffiere, a stirrup-holder or groom, whence a servant or horseman sent express.] In military affairs, an establishment of officers in various departments, attached to an army, or to the commander of an army. The staff includes officers not of the line, as adjutants, quarter-masters, chaplain, surgeon, &c. The staff is the medium of communication from the commander in chief to every department of an army.
  9. [Ice. stef.] A stanza; a series of verses so disposed that when it is concluded, the same order begins again. Cowley found out that no kind of staff is proper for a heroic poem, as being all too lyrical. – Dryden.


Stiff; harsh. [Not in use.] – Ascham.


The popular name of the several species of the genus Celastrus, but not used except with some epithet prefixed, to distinguish the species or variety. Thus Celastrus scandens of the United States, is called climbing stafftree.

STAG, n. [This word belongs to the root of stick, stage, stock. The primary sense is to thrust, hence, to fix, to stay, &c.]

  1. The male red deer; the male of the hind. – Shak.
  2. A colt or filly; also, a romping girl. [Local.] – Grose.
  3. The taurine male, castrated at such an age that he never gains the full size of a bull.


The Lucanus cervix, a species of insect. – Encyc.

STAGE, n. [Fr. etage, a story, a degree; Arm. estaich; Sax. stigan, to go, to ascend; Dan. stiger, to step up, to ascend; Sw. stiga, to step; steg, a step, stege, a ladder; D. stygen, to mount, G. steigen. Properly, one step or degree of elevation, and what the French call stage, we call a story. Hence,]

  1. A floor or platform of any kind elevated above the ground or common surface, as for an exhibition of something to public view; as, a stage for a mountebank; a stage for speakers in public; a stage for mechanics. Seamen use floating stages, and stages suspended by the side of a ship, for calking and repairing.
  2. The floor on which theatrical performances are exhibited, as distinct from the pit, &c. Hence,
  3. The theater; the place of scenic entertainments. Knights, squires and steeds must enter on the stage. – Pope.
  4. Theatrical representations. It is contended that the stage is a school of morality. Let it be inquired, where is the person whom the stage has reformed?
  5. A place where any thing is publicly exhibited. When we are born, we cry that we are come / To this great stage of fools. – Shak.
  6. Place of action or performance; as, the stage of life.
  7. A place of rest on a journey, or where a relay of horses is taken. When we arrive at the next stage, we will take some refreshment. Hence,
  8. The distance between two places of rest on a road; as, a stage of fifteen miles.
  9. A single step; degree of advance; degree of progression, either in increase or decrease, in rising or falling, or in any change of state; as, the several stages of a war; the stages of civilization or improvement; stages of growth in an animal or plant; stages of a disease, of decline or recovery; the several stages of human life.
  10. [instead of stage-coach, or stage-wagon.] A coach or other carriage running regularly from one place to another for the conveyance of passengers. I went in the sixpenny stage. – Swift. A parcel sent by the stage. – Cowper. [American usage.]

STAGE, v.t.

To exhibit publicly. [Not in use.] – Shak.

STAGE-COACH, n. [stage and coach.]

A coach that runs by stages; or a coach that runs regularly every day or on stated days, for the conveyance of passengers. – Addison.


Pertaining to a stage; becoming the theater. [Little used.] – Taylor.

STAGE-PLAY, n. [stage and play.]

Theatrical entertainment. – Dryden.


An actor on the stage; one whose occupation is to represent characters on the stage. Garrick was a celebrated stage-player.


  1. A player. [Little used.]
  2. One that has long acted on the stage of life; a practitioner; a person of cunning; as, an old cunning stager; an experienced stager; a stager of the wiser sort. – Dryden. [I do not recollect to have ever heard this word used in America.]


Exhibition on the stage. [Not in use.] – Milton.


A disease in horses. – Dict.

STAG'GARD, n. [from stag.]

A stag of four years of age. – Ainsworth.

STAG'GER, v.i. [D. staggeren. Kiliaan.]

  1. To reel; to vacillate; to move to one side and the other in standing or walking; not to stand or walk with steadiness. – Boyle. Deep was the wound; he stagger'd with the blow. – Dryden.
  2. To fail; to cease to stand firm; to begin to give way. The enemy staggers. – Addison.
  3. To hesitate; to begin to doubt and waver in purpose; to become less confident or determined. – Shak. Abraham staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief. – Rom. iv.

STAG'GER, v.t.

  1. To cause to reel. – Shak.
  2. To cause to doubt and waver; to make to hesitate; to make less steady or confident; to shock. Whoever will read the story of this war, will find himself much staggered. – Howell. When a prince fails in honor and justice, It is enough to stagger his people in their allegiance. – L'Estrange.


Made to reel; made to doubt and waver.


  1. The act of reeling. – Arbuthnot.
  2. The cause of staggering.


Causing to reel, to waver or to doubt.


  1. In a reeling manner.
  2. With hesitation or doubt.

STAG'GERS, n. [plur.]

  1. A disease of horses and cattle, attended with reeling or giddiness; also, a disease of sheep, which inclines them to turn about suddenly. – Cyc.
  2. Madness; wild irregular conduct. [Not in use.] – Shak.


A plant, ragwort.