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quarterstaff

[kwawr-ter-staf, -stahf] /ˈkwɔr tərˌstæf, -ˌstɑf/
noun, plural quarterstaves
[kwawr-ter-steyvz] /ˈkwɔr tərˌsteɪvz/ (Show IPA),
quarterstaffs.
1.
a former English weapon consisting of a stout pole 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) long, tipped with iron.
2.
exercise or fighting with this weapon.
Origin
1540-1550
1540-50; quarter + staff1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for quarter staves

quarterstaff

/ˈkwɔːtəˌstɑːf/
noun (pl) -staves (-ˌsteɪvz; -ˌstɑːvz)
1.
a stout iron-tipped wooden staff about 6ft long, formerly used in England as a weapon
2.
the use of such a staff in fighting, sport, or exercise
Word Origin
C16: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for quarter staves

quarterstaff

n.

also quarter-staff, 1540s (quarter-stroke "stroke with a quarterstaff" is attested from early 15c.), stout pole, six to eight feet long (six-and-a-half sometimes is given as the standard length), tipped with iron, formerly a weapon used by the English peasantry. From staff (n.). The quarter likely is in reference to its operation.

It was grasped by one hand in the middle, and by the other between the middle and the end. In the attack the latter hand shifted from one quarter of the staff to the other, giving the weapon a rapid circular motion, which brought the ends on the adversary at unexpected points. [Century Dictionary]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for quarter staves

quarterstaff

a staff of wood from 6 to 9 feet (about 2 to 3 m) long, used for attack and defense. It is probably the cudgel or sapling with which many legendary heroes are described as being armed. The quarterstaff attained great popularity in England during the Middle Ages. It was usually made of oak, the ends often being shod with iron, and it was held with both hands, the right hand grasping it one-quarter of the distance from the lower end (hence the name) and the left at about the middle. The staff was used as a foil, or practice substitute, for the long, two-handed sword of the period. In earlier times, it may also have been used as a practice weapon for the spear and pike

Learn more about quarterstaff with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Word Value for quarter

16
17
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