Where does the word “Quarterstaff” come from and What does Quarterstaff mean?

Those who have read Robin Hood and other adventure tales of the same period will certainly recall the quarterstaff, a ubiquitous weapon of the period.

One theory is that it got its name from its having been constructed by quartering the bole of a young tree lengthwise, yielding a quartered staff.

It seems more generally accepted, though, that it is named from the manner in which it is held in combat, one hand at the center, the other at the quarter point, midway between the center and the untipped end (the striking end was tipped with metal).

The staff itself was between six and eight feet long.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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