- Staple Sta"ple (st[=a]"p'l), n. [AS. stapul, stapol, stapel, a
step, a prop, post, table, fr. stapan to step, go, raise;
akin to D. stapel a pile, stocks, emporium, G. stapela heap,
mart, stake, staffel step of a ladder, Sw. stapel, Dan.
stabel, and E. step; cf. OF. estaple a mart, F. ['e]tape. See
1. A settled mart; an emporium; a city or town to which
merchants brought commodities for sale or exportation in
bulk; a place for wholesale traffic.
Note: In England, formerly, the king's staple was established in certain ports or towns, and certain goods could not be exported without being first brought to these places to be rated and charged with the duty payable to the king or the public. The principal commodities on which customs were levied were wool, skins, and leather; and these were originally the staple commodities. [1913 Webster]
2. Hence: Place of supply; source; fountain head. [1913 Webster]
Whitehall naturally became the chief staple of news. Whenever there was a rumor that any thing important had happened or was about to happen, people hastened thither to obtain intelligence from the fountain head. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]
6. The fiber of wool, cotton, flax, or the like; as, a coarse staple; a fine staple; a long or short staple. [1913 Webster]
7. A loop of metal such as iron, or a bar or wire, bent and formed with two points to be driven into wood, to hold a hook, pin, or the like. [1913 Webster]
8. Specifically: A small loop of metal such as steel, bent into a U-shape with the points sharpened, used to fasten sheets of paper together by driving the staple through the stacked sheets and into a formed receptacle which curls the ends in and backward, thus holding the papers firmly together; also, a similar, slightly larger such fastener which may be driven into wood to fasten objects to a wooden backing. [1913 Webster]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.