What Does the Word “Distaff” Mean and How Did the Term For the Female Side of the Family Originate?

In medieval times the marriage bargain held men responsible for the physical labor outside of the home, while the women provided nourishment and comfort inside.

A distaff was a rod used to hold wool during weaving and became a symbol of honor and respect to the value of a woman’s work toward the family’s well-being.

The equal to the female “distaff-side” is the male “spear-side.”

what does the word distaff mean and how did the term for the female side of the family originate

The word distaff comes from the Low German word “dis”, which means a bunch of flax, connected with staff.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.