AskDefine | Define staple

Dictionary Definition

staple adj : necessary foods or commodities; "wheat is a staple crop"


1 (usually plural) a necessary commodity for which demand is constant [syn: basic]
2 material suitable for manufacture or use or finishing [syn: raw material]
3 a short U-shaped wire nail for securing cables
4 paper fastener consisting of a short length of U-shaped wire that can fasten papers together v : secure or fasten with a staple or staples; "staple the papers together" [ant: unstaple]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈsteɪ.pl/, /"
  • Rhymes with: -eɪpəl

Etymology 1

Via from estaple, of origin.


  1. A basic or essential supply.
  2. A basic food.
    • Rice is a staple in the diet of many cultures.
basic or essential supply
basic food

Etymology 2

From stapol.


  1. A wire fastener used to secure stacks of paper by penetrating all the sheets and curling around.
  2. A wire fastener used to secure something else by penetrating and curling.
    • Can you believe they use staples to hold cars together these days?
  3. The result of installing such a fastener.
    • A good staple will hold tightly.
  4. A U-shaped metal fastener, used to attach fence wire or other material to posts or structures.
    • The rancher used staples to attach the barbed wire to the fence-posts.
  5. One of a set of U-shaped metal rods hammered into a structure, such as a piling or wharf, which serve as a ladder.
    • Fortunately, there were staples in the quay wall, and she was able to climb out of the water.
wire fastener used to secure stacks of paper
wire fastener in general
result of installing such a fastener
  • Finnish: nitoa
U-shaped metal fastener
one of set of rods hammered into structure
translations to be checked


  1. To secure with a staple.
secure with a staple
  • Dutch: nieten
  • Finnish: nitoa
  • Icelandic: hefta
  • Polish: zszyć
  • Portuguese: agrafar
  • Spanish: grapar
Derived terms

Etymology 3


  1. The length of the fibers in cotton, sheep’s wool, or the like, a measure of its usefulness for spinning
length of fibers in wool

Extensive Definition

Staple may mean:
  • Staple (fastener), a formed metal fastener used to secure sheets of material or wires, so they will not fall apart of each other.
  • Staple food, a foodstuff that forms the basic constituent of a diet. It is a standard commodity rather than a speciality item. This meaning is often extended to cover other areas besides food (a rollercoaster is a theme park staple)
  • Surgical staple, used in surgery to close wounds
  • Staple (textiles) is the raw material, or its length and quality, of fibre from which textiles are made. It is the material in its standard form as a traded commodity.
  • Staple (wool), wool fibres that naturally form themselves into locks that held together by cross fibres.
  • Staple (music), the foundation upon which a reed is constructed. A small cylindrical piece of metal (copper) tubing used to support the cane reeds. The reeds are fastened to the Staple using a copper wire or other suitable material. Staples are used for other type reeds such as oboe, bassoon and similar double reeded instruments.
  • STAPLE!, a convention for creators of comics, minicomics, and other independent media
  • STAPLE (programming language) - A programming language written at Manchester and used at ICL in the early 1970s for writing the test suites. STAPLE was based on ALGOL 68 and had a very advanced optimising compiler.

Musical groups


  • Staple ports were medieval concept for a port in which trade was regulated, usually by the King, often restricting the particular trade to a specific group or port
    • 'The staple' was the staple port where wool exports were traded. From 1363 to 1558, this was at Calais.
    • Étaples, Pas-de-Calais, another city named in this way, but in its French form
  • Staple rights were a somewhat related but different medieval concept which forced river merchants to offer their goods for sale at a city before being allowed to proceed with the remainder of their goods
  • Staple, Kent, a village in Kent, England near Sandwich
  • Staple, Louisiana

See also

staple in German: Agraffe
staple in Esperanto: Agrafo
staple in French: Agrafe
staple in Simple English: Staple

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

anchored, article, article of commerce, article of merchandise, articulate, auto show, basic, basics, batten, batten down, bazaar, boat show, body, bolt, bonanza, buckle, bulk, butt, button, catalog goods, chief, clasp, cleat, clip, commercial complex, commodities, commodity, consumer goods, consumer items, conventional, core, cornucopia, corpus, critical, customary, dovetail, drug, effects, elementary, emporium, essential, essentials, exposition, eye, fair, fastened, feature, fixed, flea fair, flea market, font, fount, fountain, fundamental, fundamentals, gold mine, goods, goods for sale, habitual, hasp, hinge, hitch, hook, indispensable, inventory, item, jam, job lot, joint, latch, lead item, leader, line, line of goods, lock, lode, loss leader, mail-order goods, main, market, market overt, marketplace, mart, mass, material resources, materials, materiel, merchandise, mine, miter, mortise, nail, necessary, necessities, normal, open market, ordinary, peg, pin, plaza, prevailing, primary, principal, product, quarry, rabbet, raw material, required, requisite, resource, rialto, ring, rivet, riveted, scarf, screw, seconds, set, settled, sew, shopping center, shopping mall, shopping plaza, show, sideline, skewer, snap, source, source of supply, special, spring, standard, standard article, staple item, staples, stated, stick, stitch, stock, stock-in-trade, store, street market, stuff, substance, substances, supply, tack, toggle, trade fair, universal, usual, vein, vendible, vendibles, vital, ware, wares, wedge, well, wellspring, zipper
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