stew·​ard·​ship | \ ˈstü-ərd-ˌship , ˈstyü-; ˈst(y)u̇rd-\

Definition of stewardship

1 : the office, duties, and obligations of a steward
2 : the conducting, supervising, or managing of something especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care stewardship of natural resources

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Good Stewardship

When stewardship first appeared in English during the Middle Ages, it functioned as a job description, denoting the office of a steward, or manager of a large household. Over the centuries, its range of reference spread to the oversight of law courts, employee unions, college dining halls, Masonic lodges, and many other organizations. In recent years, the long-established "management" sense of stewardship has evolved a positive meaning, “careful and responsible management.” This sense is commonly found nowadays in contexts such as “stewardship of the environment, the family business,” etc. It also occasionally appears as an adjective in phrases such as “stewardship fundraising" (that is, fundraising aimed at building good relationships with donors in order to keep them loyal).

Examples of stewardship in a Sentence

generally the dean left the day-to-day stewardship of the college to the assistant dean she believes that stewardship of the environment is everyone's responsibility

Recent Examples on the Web

The opposition trumpeted them as proof of its superior stewardship. Eric Bellman, WSJ, "India Goes Back to the Future—Again—With Economic Growth Revisions," 29 Nov. 2018 Under his stewardship, The Walking Dead faked Glenn’s death for several episodes, only to bring him back unharmed. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The Walking Dead has a Rick Grimes movie trilogy on the way," 5 Nov. 2018 After languishing the year before Mr. Schneider arrived, Nestlé shares have risen 7% under his stewardship. Saabira Chaudhuri, WSJ, "Goodbye Baby Ruth, Hello Starbucks: Nestlé CEO’s Vision Takes Shape," 28 Sep. 2018 Both are overseen by Skye Gyngell, the Australian chef best known for her early work at Petersham Nurseries, a garden center that achieved a Michelin star under her stewardship. Jo Rodgers, Condé Nast Traveler, "Inside the U.K.'s Most Anticipated Hotel Opening This Summer," 31 Aug. 2018 Fifteen years later, Heynckes was a European champion again as coach of Bayern, who also won the Bundesliga and the German Cup under his stewardship that season. Chicago Tribune,, "Reunions aplenty as Bayern and Real clash in Champions League semis," 24 Apr. 2018 Environmental stewardship is evident across the hotel. Ella Riley-adams, Vogue, "Why India’s Andaman Islands Could Be the New Maldives," 4 Jan. 2019 Bezos has been very late to the historic — and today almost unique — Seattle ethos of moneyed stewardship. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "No good deed goes unpunished — Bezos’ gift and its discontents," 18 Sep. 2018 With its proxies in control, the U.S. would gain stewardship of the Iraq-Syria border, using it to block Iran’s growing influence in the region. Nabih Bulos,, "It's an awkward dance as the U.S., Russia and Iran all zero in on Islamic State," 22 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

15 Feb 2019

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

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English Language Learners Definition of stewardship

: the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something

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More from Merriam-Webster on stewardship

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stewardship

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stewardship

Nglish: Translation of stewardship for Spanish Speakers

Comments on stewardship

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esteemed in general opinion

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