stave

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stave (something) in

To crush or cave in something; to smash through something. He staved in the crate with a large rock to access the supplies inside. We'll have to stave the door in if we want to get to your daughter in time.
See also: stave

stave (someone or something) off

To keep someone or something at bay; to defend against someone or something; to delay or postpone someone or something. 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.
See also: off, stave

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.
See also: off, stave

stave something in

to crush something in. (The past tense is usually stove with ships, and otherwise, staved.) The rocks on the reef staved the hull of the ship in. The angry sailor staved in the cask of rum.
See also: stave

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.
See also: off, stave

stave off

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]
See also: off, stave

stave in

v.
To break or smash a hole in something: The firefighters staved the door in. I staved in the barrel with an axe.
See also: stave

stave off

v.
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.
See also: off, stave