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Partially raised or lowered. The phrase most often describes a flag that has been lowered to honor a recently-deceased person. After our former president died, flags were at half-mast all across the country. My daughter came home from the park covered in dirt, her ponytail at half-mast.
Partially raised or lowered. The phrase most often describes a flag that has been lowered to honor a recently deceased person. After our former president died, flags were at half-staff all across the country. My daughter came home from the park covered in dirt, her ponytail at half-staff.
Members of the working class, especially manual laborers. The phrase refers to the collar of a laborer's typical uniform, in contrast to the "white collar" shirts that typically accompany formal dress. You'll have a hard time retaining blue-collar staff if you keep denying them raises.
See also: staff
bread is the staff of life
proverb One must eat in order to survive. I know you're trying to get a lot done today, but don't forget to eat—bread is the staff of life.
1. To hire the necessary members of staff. A lot of the retail shops around here staff up with temporary workers for the holiday rush.
2. To fill a business with employees or staff members. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "staff" and "up." The new restaurant is supposed to open in a week, but owners still haven't staffed it up completely.
the staff of life
Some critical necessity or basic staple. Said especially of staple foods like bread or rice. We want our employees to know that respectful discussion and debate are the staff of life around here. The widespread infection of potatoes—the staff of life in Ireland at the time—caused a nationwide famine that killed over a million people.
Professionals whose work responsibilities do not include manual labor (i.e., like that of a so-called blue-collar worker). The name comes from the formal dress typically worn by such workers. You'll have a hard time retaining white-collar staff if you keep denying them raises.
See also: staff
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
at half-mastand at half-staff
[of a flag] halfway up or down its flagpole. The flag was flying at half-mast because the general had died. Americans fly flags at half-staff on Memorial Day.
Bread is the staff of life.
Prov. Food is necessary for people to survive. Miranda likes to give money to charities that feed people. "Other services are important," she reasons, "but bread is the staff of life." Jill: Want to go to lunch with us, Bob? Bob: No. I must work on my novel while inspiration lasts. Jill: Don't forget to eat. Bread is the staff of life, you know.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Halfway up or down, as in The church bells tolled off and on all day and the flags were at half-mast. This term refers to placing a flag halfway up a ship's mast or flagpole, a practice used as a mark of respect for a person who has died or, at sea, as a distress signal. Occasionally the term is transferred to other objects, as in Tom's pants were at half-mast as he raced around the playground, or The puppy's tail was at half-mast. [First half of 1600s]
staff of life
A staple or necessary food, especially bread. For example, Rice is the staff of life for a majority of the earth's people. This expression, which uses staff in the sense of "a support," was first recorded in 1638.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
a skeleton ˈcrew/ˈstaff/ˈservicethe minimum number of staff necessary to run an organization or service: At weekends we have a skeleton staff to deal with emergencies.
the ˌstaff of ˈlife(literary) a basic food, especially bread
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
staff of life, the
Bread; sometimes, by extension, any essential food. Understandably this term originated in the Bible (“the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread,” Isaiah 3:1). However, it was not until the eighteenth century that the staff of life was definitively identified with bread (prior to that it had often been corn, the British term for wheat). “Bread, dear brothers, is the staff of life,” wrote Jonathan Swift (A Tale of a Tub, 1704), and so it has remained.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer