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

Annie Moore was the first of 12 million immigrants to land on Ellis Island, a 17-year-old from Ireland who had traveled in steerage. Rich Cohen, WSJ, "The Hidden History of Liberty Island," 11 July 2019 Whether one traces his Americanism back three centuries to the Mayflower, or three years of the steerage, is not half so important as whether his Americanism of to-day is real and genuine. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "For His Patriotic Birthday, Five Facts About Calvin Coolidge," 2 July 2018 If the proletariat sitting in steerage pays for air services, so should a CEO flying across the country for lunch. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "An Air-Traffic Winner," 11 Oct. 2017 The doors to the lot opened briefly, then shut again, trapping people in the process like Jack and Rose trying to get from steerage to first class in the Titanic. The Cut, "Alexander Wang’s After-Party Felt Like a Frat Bash Styled by Liberace," 10 Sep. 2017 Immigrants booked passage and came to these shores in steerage, enduring heat, stench and cramped conditions in hopes of better lives in America. Leonard Pitts Jr, The Mercury News, "Pitts: Explaining the difference between slaves and immigrants to Ben Carson," 8 Mar. 2017 In Episode 8, the Young Pope strolls through the steerage section of the papal plane and gazes over a dozing press corps. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "You May Be ‘The Young Pope,’ but You’re No Francis," 13 Feb. 2017 Even immigrants who arrive willingly get here in despair, if not in chains, then in steerage. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: For Africans in America, a Temporary Stay Becomes a New Life," 16 May 2017

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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Statistics for steerage

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for steerage

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

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on steerage

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with steerage Encyclopedia article about steerage

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characterized by aphorism

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