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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 ?
Population growth remains one issue that may affect staffing needs for police departments.
A solution for staffing the information desk in the Community Use area would likely involve a change in definition of who is "qualified."
Through this cultivation of a new level of nursing home staff, we find that optimum staffing levels are easily maintained by a team of caregivers that subscribes to our organization's mission, core values, positive attitude, and dedication to its residents--qualities that are too often missing in agency personnel.
He made the remarks at a hearing July 27 in which officials of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) presented a report to Congress alleging that more than half of the nation's nursing homes are deficient in nurses' aide staffing, almost a quarter fall short in total licensed personnel, and about a third have insufficient RN staffing to meet the ne eds of their patients.
This apparently agrees with the studies reviewed earlier that there is no single pattern of staffing or titles for physician executives.
This new demand, however, is causing an immediate staffing shortage.
When asked how quality of care can be increased without placing excessive demands on staff or requiring increased staffing, Simard says, "I believe that the resident care assistants--RAs, CNAs, L(N)As, whatever each organization calls them--need to be educated to understand that they need to use a holistic approach.
She checks the 24-hour report and staffing (which she usually does on arrival).
This process can have a profound effect on staffing configurations and job content when applied over time to an organization.
The best approach is for the governing board and administration to make business decisions, such as the development of health care services and the staffing of those services, without medical staff involvement.
A very busy Congress has found time to focus on key issues of interest, including reimbursement and staffing, and controversial--and often painful--issue of nursing home quality assurance has received a second look from federal officials attempting to improve the process.
Potential staff find us randomly, and we use Internet staffing sources.
But because of inadequate staffing, they rush feedings, forcing huge spoonfuls that residents can't swallow," says Kayser-Jones, recounting both her research and her mother's death.
"Eight-hour Education Days are scheduled throughout the year so we can maintain staffing levels for resident care.
Depending on your particular circumstances (number of horses, staffing, and location, among others), you may wish to incorporate additional policies relating to horse care, such as how horse injuries or sickness is handled and who determines then the veterinarian should be called.