stew·​ard·​ship | \ ˈstü-ərd-ˌship How to pronounce stewardship (audio) , 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 Corporate stewardship will become increasingly more important. Ashley Stahl, Forbes, 23 Sep. 2021 Fortunately, the current owners, through careful stewardship, have ensured this fascinating dwelling will survive for the next century, at least. Check out more images of the property below. Laura Euler For, Robb Report, 16 Sep. 2021 Among the unhappy shareholders was Rupert Krefting, head of corporate finance and stewardship at M&G, which manages £370 billion and owns just over 1 percent of the company’s shares. New York Times, 31 Aug. 2021 The board’s vote directly challenged the stewardship of Fauci and Collins, because the pathogen-altering research had been approved by NIH with no external review or publicity. Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2021 From 15th-century Constantinople to present-day Iowa to a near-future starship, Doerr considers stewardship in many forms. Los Angeles Times, 24 Aug. 2021 Lots of Republican politicians claim to support responsible stewardship of the nation’s finances. Ken Buck, National Review, 17 Aug. 2021 While the 48-page audit mostly praises city officials for effectively balancing good financial stewardship against the expediency demanded by a crisis, the audit also says officials could have better handled small businesses aid and rent relief. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 July 2021 In the last year, Marvel has relaunched the Shang-Chi comic under the stewardship of Eisner-award-winning writer Gene Luen Yang, who has endeavored to, for starters, imbue Shang-Chi with an actual personality. Eliana Dockterman, Time, 3 Sep. 2021

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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Time Traveler for stewardship

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near stewardship

steward of Scotland



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Last Updated

25 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stewardship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of stewardship

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

More from Merriam-Webster on stewardship

Nglish: Translation of stewardship for Spanish Speakers


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