stave off(redirected from staves them off)
To defend against or keep someone or something at bay; to delay something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "stave" and "off." He's been trying to scrounge up money so that he can stave off his creditors for a while longer. An old trick is to suck on a pebble to stave your thirst off.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
stave someone or something off
to hold someone or something off; to defend against the attack of someone or something. (See also stave something off.) The citizen was not able to stave the mugger off. The army staved off the attackers for three hours without letup.
stave something off
to delay or postpone something unwanted, such as hunger, foreclosure, death, etc. (See also stave someone or something off.) He could stave his thirst off no longer. Despite the enemy sentries, he made a dash for the stream. The lost hiker could not stave off her hunger any longer.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Keep or hold away, repel, as in The Federal Reserve Board is determined to stave off inflation. This metaphoric expression transfers beating something off with a staff or stave to nonphysical repulsion. [c. 1600]
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.
To keep or hold someone or something off; repel someone or something: I staved the attackers off with my umbrella. Health officials are trying to stave off an outbreak of disease.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
- add in
- a crack at (someone or something)
- (someone or something) promises well
- all right
- a/the feel of (something)
- (I) wouldn't (do something) if I were you
- a slew of (something)
- (have) got something going (with someone)
- a straw will show which way the wind blows
- (you've) got to get up pretty early in the morning to (do something)