steer·​age | \ ˈstir-ij How to pronounce steerage (audio) \

Definition of steerage

1 : the act or practice of steering broadly : direction
2 [from its originally being located near the rudder] : a section of inferior accommodations in a passenger ship for passengers paying the lowest fares

Examples of steerage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Not only had there been no lifeboat drills, the crew provided steerage passengers almost no direction at all. Cody Cassidy, Wired, "How to Escape a Sinking Ship (Like, Say, the Titanic)," 30 Oct. 2020 Under his steerage, the newspaper became an important tool to lobby for the fugitives' return. Cnn Staff, CNN, "Two fugitive opium dealers, a media mogul and an alleged smoking gun video: the story of a Hong Kong newspaper feud," 4 Sep. 2020 To the editor: So our captain of state has telegraphed his intention to sail into a pack of icebergs at flank speed, ignoring the wishes of the majority in steerage who don’t want that. Los Angeles Times, "Letters to the Editor: Does Trump think he can just bluff the coronavirus?," 7 May 2020 In 1892, Hamburg was the largest seaport in the world and sent off dozens of ships filled stem to stern with travelers, goods, cargo, and steerage immigrants. Howard Markel, Wired, "With Covid-19, Tech Is Making History Repeat Itself," 4 Mar. 2020 Without a speedy fix to regain steerage, the Polar Star would face a nightmare scenario: getting stuck in ice as the ocean froze around it. Author: Richard Read, Anchorage Daily News, "Meet the icebreaker Polar Star, the neglected stepchild of the U.S. military industrial complex," 17 Aug. 2019 All third-class and steerage passengers, on the other hand, were put on a ferry to Ellis Island, where women and children were separated in one line and men in the other. Paul Thompson, National Geographic, "How Ellis Island shepherded millions of immigrants into America," 13 Nov. 2019 Falling into the hands of the Libyan coast guard would mean a return to the prisons in Libya, and to the hunger and abuse that he’d likely already experienced there, but the caller was desperate enough to request steerage back to Libya. Ben Ehrenreich, The New Republic, "Inside the effort to rescue Europe’s unwelcome immigrants," 17 Oct. 2019 The Padres, stuck in steerage on their own wayward ship, are embarking on the most important offseason voyage in their history. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: A.J. Preller’s cruise could be over if right Padres skipper isn’t hired," 5 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'steerage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of steerage

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for steerage

Time Traveler

The first known use of steerage was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Steerage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of steerage

: the section on a passenger ship in the past where passengers who had the cheapest tickets would stay

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