1 [stey-puhl]
a short piece of wire bent so as to bind together papers, sections of a book, or the like, by driving the ends through the sheets and clinching them on the other side.
a similar, often U -shaped piece of wire or metal with pointed ends for driving into a surface to hold a hasp, hook, pin, bolt, wire, or the like.
verb (used with object), stapled, stapling.
to secure or fasten by a staple or staples: to staple three sheets together.

before 900; Middle English stapel orig., support, post, Old English stapol; cognate with Middle Dutch stapel foundation, German Stapel pile, Old Norse stǫpull pillar Unabridged


2 [stey-puhl]
a principal raw material or commodity grown or manufactured in a locality.
a principal commodity in a mercantile field; goods in steady demand or of known or recognized quality.
a basic or necessary item of food: She bought flour, sugar, salt, and other staples.
a basic or principal item, thing, feature, element, or part: Cowboy dramas are a staple on television.
the fiber of wool, cotton, flax, rayon, etc., considered with reference to length and fineness.
Textiles. a standard length of textile fibers, representing the average of such fibers taken collectively, as short-staple or long-staple cotton.
History/Historical. a town or place appointed by royal authority as the seat of a body of merchants having the exclusive right of purchase of certain classes of goods for export.
chief or prominent among the products exported or produced by a country or district; chiefly or largely dealt in or consumed.
basic, chief, or principal: staple industries.
principally used: staple subjects of conversation.
verb (used with object), stapled, stapling.
to sort or classify according to the staple or fiber, as wool.

1375–1425; late Middle English: place where merchants have trading rights < Middle Dutch stapel Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
staple1 (ˈsteɪpəl)
1.  a short length of thin wire bent into a square U-shape, used to fasten papers, cloth, etc
2.  a short length of stiff wire formed into a U-shape with pointed ends, used for holding a hasp to a post, securing electric cables, etc
3.  (tr) to secure (papers, wire, etc) with a staple or staples
[Old English stapol prop, of Germanic origin; related to Middle Dutch stapel step, Old High German staffal]

staple2 (ˈsteɪpəl)
1.  of prime importance; principal: staple foods
2.  (of a commodity) forming a predominant element in the product, consumption, or trade of a nation, region, etc
3.  a staple commodity
4.  a main constituent; integral part
5.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) a principal raw material produced or grown in a region
6.  the fibre of wool, cotton, etc, graded as to length and fineness
7.  (in medieval Europe) a town appointed to be the exclusive market for one or more major exports of the land
8.  (tr) to arrange or sort (wool, cotton, etc) according to length and fineness
[C15: from Middle Dutch stapel warehouse; see staple1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"bent piece of metal with pointed ends," 1295, from O.E. stapol "post, pillar," from P.Gmc. *stapulaz "pillar" (cf. O.Fris. stapul "stem of a tooth," M.L.G. stapel "block for executions," Ger. stapel "stake, beam"), from PIE stebh- (see staff). How this evolved into the modern
fastening device is unclear, and it may not be the same word. Meaning "piece of thin wire driven through papers to hold them together" is attested from 1895; stapler is from 1951.

"principal article grown or made in a country or district," early 15c., "official market for some class of merchandise," from Anglo-Fr. (14c.), from O.Fr. estaple "market," from a Gmc. source akin to M.L.G. stapol, M.Du. stapel "market," from the same source as staple (1),
the notion being of market stalls behind pillars of an arcade, or else of a raised platform where the king's deputies administered judgment. The sense of "principle article grown or made in a place" is 1610s, short for staple ware "wares and goods from a market" (early 15c.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

STAPLE definition

A programming language written at Manchester (University?) and used at ICL in the early 1970s for writing the test suites. STAPLE was based on Algol 68 and had a very advanced optimising compiler.

Staple definition

St Andrews Applicative Persistent Language. Language combining functional programming with persistent storage, developed at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Tony Davie, .

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
Explain that a staple is a basic food that is eaten regularly by people of a
  particular region.
Food does not get much humbler than poi, the pasty staple made from the taro
There was little hunger but there was a large increase in staple consumption.
Some people contend that beer may have been the staple of mankind's diet even
  before bread was invented.
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