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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-mast all across the country. My daughter came home from the park covered in dirt, her ponytail at half-mast.

at half-staff

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.

blue-collar 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.
See also: bread, life, of, staff

staff up

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.
See also: staff, up

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.
See also: life, of, staff

white-collar staff

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-mast

 and 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.
See also: bread, life, of, staff
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

at half-mast

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.
See also: life, of, staff
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/ˈservice

the minimum number of staff necessary to run an organization or service: At weekends we have a skeleton staff to deal with emergencies.
See also: crew, service, skeleton, staff

the ˌstaff of ˈlife

(literary) a basic food, especially bread
See also: life, of, staff
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.
See also: of, staff
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
When characterized as compensation, it would become part of the total compensation of such staff and would be compared to a reasonable amount of compensation, ultimately manifesting (if at all) in excessive compensation.
"There are cries from the staff for a manager," Archbishop Hutchison told the all-staff meeting.
Even more importantly, the staff assigned to answer the phones during this backlog elimination effort should be separated and in effect "walled off" from the transaction staff.
The interviews allowed the staff to convey thoughts and feelings about the context of camp and perceptions that could give direction to the camp professional.
Front Range Community College and City of Westminster Library staff and administrators, Westminster City Councillors, and the chair of the Westminster Library Board all made the trip to see how well this joint library worked.
When TEI launched its website about a decade ago, it did not add to its staff. This made sense at the time because first Coopers & Lybrand and then PricewaterhouseCoopers provided considerable expertise and guidance to the Institute.
* Setting measurable goals that can only be met with the staff truly working together as a team.
NIKE Staff Presentations by: Larry Coker, Miami, Jim Tressel, Ohio State, Greg Robinson, Syracuse, Jeff Bower, Southern Mississippi, Jim Grobe, Wake Forest
SAF/IA has two directorates and a Staff Action Group, with nearly 180 authorized billets, including approximately 100 military personnel and 80 civilians.
What are some of the things that you do to maintain staff and keep them positive and motivated?
Nursing assistants were taught what information was important to report to licensed staff, using exact circumstances and specific descriptors about a situation.
He was appointed to the official staff in 2001, after returning from a two-year visit to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Staff had been protected by personal protective equipment and therefore, because of the absence of staff cases and an epidemiologic link, the identification of the cases was delayed.
This case-study outlines a teaching partnership between library and academic staff at the University of Waikato.