staff of life

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to staff of life: Bread is the staff of life

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

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 ˌstaff of ˈlife

(literary) a basic food, especially bread
See also: life, of, staff

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Education is the modern staff of life for all of us.
Townspeople have been growing the cactus since before the Spanish conquest The plants are a staff of life rivaled only by corn.
Wheat today is synonymous with bread, but before it became the stuff of the staff of life, people grew an ancient form known as einkorn.
And while some purists may turn their noses up at naan, chapatis, ciabatta and focaccia, I'm putting my dough on people realising there's more to the staff of life than sliced white.
The Zona family is forever grateful for the support, kindness and care provided to our mother by all the staff of Life Care Center of Auburn.
As I tear into this economical, highly nutritious, easy-to-prepare staff of life, I always am reminded that Simple Bread is simply marvelous.
Thank you as well to the staff of Life Care Center of Auburn for their professional and caring treatment of Fr.
Among the more unusual names were the Diana in King Street (closed 1900), the Rose and Shamrock and the Neptune in Kirkgate (1905), the Druids at Salford, Lockwood (1910), the Dog at Moldgreen (1913), the Staff of Life at Bankfield (1914), the Paragon in Westgate (1923), the Turf Inn in Ramsden Street (1930), the Dock Tavern in Dock Street (1940), Poets Corner in Chapel Hill (1944), the Olive Branch in Lindley (1949) and the Lord Nelson in Leeds Road (1953).