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

In actuality, a great number of conservatives care deeply about the natural world and welcome the role of stewardship of the land. Noelle Swan, The Christian Science Monitor, "The Monitor’s collaboration with the Energy Foundation," 29 June 2018 Groundwork offers programs for youths ages 8 and up and is constantly looking to instill in them a sense of stewardship for the earth. Morgan Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How fresh cucumbers, spinach are transforming impoverished Milwaukee neighborhoods," 30 May 2018 The company supports employees’ drive to community stewardship by supporting their passion for causes that are important to them. azcentral, "Top Companies to Work for in Arizona-Medium Companies," 7 June 2018 The ad relies on a wrecking ball as its main visual, a metaphor Stemerman has been using for months to describe Malloy’s stewardship of the state’s economy. Daniela Altimari,, "New David Stemerman Ad Says Malloy's Tenure Was A 'Disaster For Connecticut'," 9 July 2018 Under her stewardship, Deloitte posted record earnings in the fiscal year that ended in May, the person said. Joann S. Lublin, WSJ, "Deloitte Leadership Battle Leaves CEO’s Future in Question," 28 June 2018 Correa played under three different managers during a troubled season at Sevilla, and was dropped from the team by caretaker manager Joaquin Caparros, playing just 21 minutes under his stewardship., "West Ham Make Enquiries About Joaquin Correa Ahead of Possible Bid for Argentine Midfielder," 22 June 2018 Both Gibbons-Resurrection and the Ark of Safety church have had significant financial problems, a record that his critics say raises questions about Muse’s stewardship and management skills. Rachel Chason, Washington Post, "C. Anthony Muse: Prince George’s voters ‘don’t want more of the establishment’," 6 June 2018 But rather than turning attention to the profound structural issues surrounding surveillance capitalism, mainstream media — along with the U.S. Congress — largely centered this affair around issues of Facebook’s stewardship of user data. Jacob Silverman, Longreads, "Searching for a Future Beyond Facebook," 2 May 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

11 Oct 2018

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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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Comments on stewardship

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a state of commotion or excitement

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