stew·​ard | \ ˈstü-ərd How to pronounce steward (audio) , ˈstyü-; ˈst(y)u̇rd \

Definition of steward

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one employed in a large household or estate to manage domestic concerns (such as the supervision of servants, collection of rents, and keeping of accounts)
3 : a fiscal agent
4a : an employee on a ship, airplane, bus, or train who manages the provisioning of food and attends passengers
b : one appointed to supervise the provision and distribution of food and drink in an institution
5 : one who actively directs affairs : manager


stewarded; stewarding; stewards

Definition of steward (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to act as a steward for : manage

intransitive verb

: to perform the duties of a steward

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Examples of steward in a Sentence

Noun the steward of their investments teaching our children to be good stewards of the land the steward of the estate The race stewards are reviewing the results. Verb will steward the city's library programs
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The landlord also notes that Alden owns 50.1% of Digital First Media, which owns 50 U.S. newspapers and has been characterized as a cutthroat steward of those companies. Debtwire, Forbes, "Alden Global Capital, Under Contract To Buy Tribune, Sued For Millions Over Unpaid Rent By Lipstick Building Landlord," 26 Feb. 2021 Pinkney also served on the Eustis City Commission, Board of Trustees for Bethune Cookman College and Waterman Hospital and was a steward for St. James AME Church. Cassie Armstrong,, "Explore Central Florida’s Black history," 19 Feb. 2021 Since coming to power, Putin has adeptly pursued these three interests, while being a poor steward of the Russian economy and resorting with increasing frequency to political repression. Michael Kimmage, The New Republic, "How Biden Can Achieve a Russian Restoration," 26 Jan. 2021 And Biden clearly saw himself as a steward of that legacy, his easy self-confidence the product of four decades as a globe-trotting senator. Mark Landler,, "Will Biden be an activist president on the world stage?," 20 Jan. 2021 Born in Rosenheim, Germany, Fischbacher first met Horn over 60 years ago on a cruise ship, where Fischbacher performed magician and Horn was a steward. Zoe Haylock, Vulture, "Siegfried Fischbacher, Magician of Siegfried & Roy, Dies at 81," 14 Jan. 2021 McCurty said Theodore Bates of Hill City, Kan., was the steward of his family’s 200 acres, acquired through the Civil War-era Homestead Act of 1862, and expanded it to 950 acres. Washington Post, "Tom Vilsack’s nomination as agriculture secretary reopens old wounds for Black farmers," 14 Jan. 2021 Others became internet billionaires, while Mr. Berners-Lee became the steward of the technical norms intended to help the web flourish as an egalitarian tool of connection and information sharing. New York Times, "He Created the Web. Now He’s Out to Remake the Digital World.," 10 Jan. 2021 Gone were the days of Rath, when a union steward could simply drop a handkerchief and signal a work stoppage. Michael Grabell, ProPublica, "As COVID-19 Ravaged This Iowa City, Officials Discovered Meatpacking Executives Were the Ones in Charge," 21 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Surely the minds that steward the world’s largest democracies—societies still so attractive to many across the world—can find a better way. Steve Coll, The New Yorker, "Will Biden’s Sanctions Help Restore Democracy in Myanmar?," 24 Feb. 2021 Winnett said that by focusing on keeping people healthy rather than addressing their needs after a problem, the plan aims to steward the state's finite resources better. Elyse Kelly, Washington Examiner, "Illinois proposes to transform state healthcare system to be 'equity-centric'," 14 Dec. 2020 While there is a tradition of librarians and archivists stealing from collections they are meant to steward, not since the 1930s had a dealer as highly reputed as Schulman been implicated. Travis Mcdade, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Inside Story of the $8 Million Heist From the Carnegie Library," 18 Aug. 2020 One of our primary responsibilities at the Department of the Interior is to steward our nation’s historical treasures and preserve landmarks central to our national identity and culture. David L. Bernhardt, USA TODAY, "National Parks preserve legacy of African American history, civil rights," 25 Feb. 2020 Sometimes, all the candidates are deeply flawed, and a judgment is required of how to steward faithfully one’s democratic privileges. Andrew T. Walker, National Review, "Understanding Why Religious Conservatives Would Vote for Trump," 10 Feb. 2020 To steward such a machine would take observation and continuous operation over decades and centuries. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "This Guy Is Pretty Sure His Time Machine Would Work," 6 Jan. 2020 Regardless of the exact technical specifications, though, a digital yuan stewarded by the PBOC could provide the Chinese government with unfettered access to its people’s finances. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "What China could gain from a digital yuan," 19 Sep. 2019 The Agnellis are often dubbed Italy’s royal family, and have stewarded Fiat and its offshoots since paterfamilias Giovanni Agnelli founded the carmaker 120 years ago. Alex Webb | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "How Can Berlusconi’s Mediaset Stay Italian? By Becoming Dutch," 10 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'steward.' 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 steward


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1621, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for steward


Middle English, from Old English stīweard, from stī, stig hall, sty + weard ward — more at sty, ward

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Time Traveler for steward

Time Traveler

The first known use of steward was before the 12th century

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Statistics for steward

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for steward



English Language Learners Definition of steward

: a person and especially a man whose job is to serve meals and take care of passengers on a train, airplane, or ship
: someone who protects or is responsible for money, property, etc.
: a person whose job is to manage the land and property of another person


stew·​ard | \ ˈstü-ərd How to pronounce steward (audio) , ˈstyü- \

Kids Definition of steward

1 : a manager of a very large home, an estate, or an organization
2 : a person employed to manage the supply and distribution of food and look after the needs of passengers (as on an airplane or ship)



Legal Definition of steward

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