staple

Definitions

Agriculture

  • noun the length and fineness of fibres such as wool or cotton, used in determining quality

Construction

  • A double-pointed, U-shaped piece of metal used to attach wire mesh, insulation batts, building paper, etc.; usually driven with a staple gun.

Information & Library Science

  • noun a small bent piece of metal which is forced into papers to hold them together
  • verb to join papers together using a stapler

Medical

  • noun a small piece of bent metal, used to attach tissues together

Real Estate

  • noun a small U-shaped piece of strong metal wire with two sharp points, usually driven into a surface to hold something such as a bolt or cable in place

Origin & History of “staple”

English has two distinct words staple, but they come from a common ancestor – prehistoric Germanic *stapulaz ‘pillar’. this evolved into English staple (OE), which at first retained its ancestral meaning ‘post, pillar’. The modern sense ‘U-shaped metal bar’ did not emerge until the end of the 13th century, and the details of its development from ‘pillar’ are obscure. The middle Low German and Middle Dutch descendant of *stapulaz was stapel, which had the additional meaning ‘market, shop’ (presumably from the notion of a stall situated behind the ‘pillars’ of an arcade). This was borrowed into Old French as estaple, which in turn gave English staple ‘market’ (15th c.), hence ‘principal commercial commodity’.
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