Rock Day
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. [1913 Webster]

I will the distaff hold; come thou and spin. --Fairfax. [1913 Webster]

2. Used as a symbol of the holder of a distaff; hence, a woman; women, collectively. [1913 Webster]

His crown usurped, a distaff on the throne. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

Some say the crozier, some say the distaff was too busy. --Howell. [1913 Webster]

Note: The plural is regular, but Distaves occurs in Beaumont & Fletcher. [1913 Webster]

{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. --Shipley. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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