(noun) a long stout staff used as a weapon

Source: WordNet® 3.1



quarterstaff (plural quarterstaffs or quarterstaves)

A wooden staff of an approximate length between 2 and 2.5 meters, sometimes tipped with iron, used as a weapon in rural England during the Early Modern period.

Fighting or exercise with the quarterstaff.

Usage notes

An attestation from 1590 of a quarter Ashe staffe shows that the "quarter" was an apposition and could still be detached (Richard Harvey, Plaine Perceuall the peace-maker of England , cited after the OED). Joseph Swetnam (1615) uses "quarterstaff" in the same sense in which George Silver (1599) had used "short staff", viz. for the staff between about 2 and 2.5 meters in length, as opposed to the "long staff" of a length exceeding 3 meters.

Contemporary use of the word disappears during the 18th century, and beginning with 19th-century Romanticism the word is mostly limited to antiquarian or historical usage.


• bo (a Japanese quarterstaff)

• short staff

Source: Wiktionary

Quar"ter*staff`, n.; pl. Quarterstaves (.

Definition: 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.

Source: Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary 1913 Edition


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