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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.
bread is the staff of life
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.
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.
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.
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.