Etymology
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staple (n.1)
"bent piece of metal with pointed ends," late 13c., from Old English stapol "post, pillar, trunk of a tree, steps to a house," from Proto-Germanic *stapulaz "pillar" (source also of Old Saxon stapal "candle, small tub," Old Frisian stapul "stem of a tooth," Dutch stapel "a prop, foot-rest, seat," Middle Low German stapel "block for executions," German Stapel "stake, beam"), from *stap-, from PIE stebh- (see staff (n.)).

A general Germanic word that apparently evolved a specialized meaning in English, though OED finds the connection unclear and suggests the later sense in English might not be the same word. Meaning "piece of thin wire driven through papers to hold them together" is attested from 1895.
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staple (n.2)

"principal article grown or made in a country or district," early 15c., "official market for some class of merchandise," from Anglo-French estaple (14c.), Old French estaple "counter, stall; regulated market, depot," from a Germanic source akin to Middle Low German stapol, Middle Dutch stapel "market," literally "pillar, foundation," from the same source as staple (n.1), the notion perhaps being of market stalls behind pillars of an arcade, or else of a raised platform where the king's deputies administered judgment.

The sense of "principal article grown or made in a place" is 1610s, short for staple ware "wares and goods from a market" (early 15c.). Meaning "principle element or ingredient in anything" is from 1826. Meaning "fiber of any material used for spinning" is late 15c., of uncertain origin, and perhaps an unrelated word.

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staple (v.)
late 14c., "to fix with a (large) staple," from staple (n.1). In the wire paper fastener sense, by 1898. Related: Stapled; stapling.
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short-staple (adj.)

"having the fiber short," especially of cotton, 1802; see short (adj.) + staple (n.).

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stapler (n.)
mechanical device for driving staples, by 1949; agent noun from staple (v.). Long before, it meant "merchant of the staple, monopolist."
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manioc (n.)

"the cassava plant or its product," an important food staple in tropical America, 1560s, from Tupi manioch, mandioca, name for the root of the cassava.

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tar (n.2)

also Jack Tar, "sailor," 1670s, probably a special use of tar (n.1), which stuff was a staple for waterproofing aboard old ships (knights of the tarbrush being a jocular phrase for "sailors"); or possibly a shortened form of tarpaulin, which was recorded as a nickname for a sailor in 1640s, from the tarpaulin garments they wore.

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crampon (n.)

c. 1300, "metal bar bent at the ends for fastening," from Old French crampoun "cramp, brace, staple" (13c.), from Germanic (see cramp (n.1); also compare cramp (n.2)). As "apparatus used in the raising of heavy weights," mid-15c. By 1789 as "plate set with spikes, fastened to the foot to assist in walking on ice or climbing rock."

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gadget (n.)
1886, gadjet (but said by OED corespondents to date from 1850s), sailors' slang word for any small mechanical thing or part of a ship for which they lacked, or forgot, a name; perhaps from French gâchette "catch-piece of a mechanism" (15c.), diminutive of gâche "staple of a lock." OED says derivation from gauge is "improbable."
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bacon (n.)
early 14c., "meat from the back and sides of a hog" (originally either fresh or cured, but especially cured), from Old French bacon, from Proto-Germanic *bakkon "back meat" (source also of Old High German bahho, Old Dutch baken "bacon"). Slang phrase bring home the bacon first recorded 1908; bacon formerly being the staple meat of the working class and the rural population (in Shakespeare bacon is a derisive term for "a rustic").
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