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 The earliest days of Christianity involved the repossession of the sacred from the stewardship of politics, with all its lordly pretensions, into the hands of community in the form of the Church. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "Put Not Your Trust in Princes (nor in Republicans)," 4 Sep. 2020 Indifference to the truth or to the careful stewardship of the institutions of American liberty is not conservative. Lee Davidson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Latter-day Saint, helps launch Republicans for Biden," 24 Aug. 2020 Highclere Castle — the estate where Downton Abbey was filmed — is an exception and remains under the stewardship of the Earls of Carnavron, who live on the estate. Laurie Penny, Longreads, "Tea, Biscuits, and Empire: The Long Con of Britishness," 10 Aug. 2020 Goode is also pleased to see other Central California tribes returning to cultural land stewardship. Debra Utacia Krol, The Arizona Republic, "'Living with fire' may lead to less destructive wildfires, say Indigenous land stewards," 28 Aug. 2020 The middle of a horrendous recession is an odd time to boast about your stewardship of the economy. Steve Chapman,, "Column: Trump doesn’t know how to revive the economy," 26 Aug. 2020 For whatever reason, Trump, especially among Republicans, gets high marks for his stewardship of the economy, even in a pandemic. Christine Romans For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Trump is banking on a mathematical mirage," 25 Aug. 2020 Ferretti believed that his gaming acumen justified his stewardship of the community. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "Retro Gaming's Misogyny Is Brought to Light After a Violent Tragedy," 19 Aug. 2020 Democrats have hammered President Donald Trump for his administration's cuts to service at the United States Postal Service, though Trump has defended his administration's stewardship. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, "Trump's Postmaster General DeJoy agrees to testify before Congress about USPS changes," 17 Aug. 2020

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

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

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Statistics for stewardship

Last Updated

12 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stewardship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for stewardship


How to pronounce stewardship (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of stewardship

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

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Nglish: Translation of stewardship for Spanish Speakers

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