[kwawr-ter-staf, -stahf]
noun, plural quarterstaves [kwawr-ter-steyvz] , quarterstaffs.
a former English weapon consisting of a stout pole 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) long, tipped with iron.
exercise or fighting with this weapon.

1540–50; quarter + staff1

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
quarterstaff (ˈkwɔːtəˌstɑːf)
n , pl -staves
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
[C16: of uncertain origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1550, stout pole, six to eight feet long, tipped with iron, formerly a weapon used by the Eng. peasantry. The exact sense of quarter is uncertain here; it may be from a tree of a certain size cut into quarters.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


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

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Believe it or not, the hand control actually reminded me of learning the quarterstaff a few years ago.
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