stew·​ard·​ship ˈstü-ərd-ˌship How to pronounce stewardship (audio)
: the office, duties, and obligations of a steward
: 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 By mitigating pollution, conserving resources, and promoting responsible practices, Beyond Oil emerges as a game-changer in the pursuit of environmental stewardship within the culinary landscape. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 9 May 2024 As the series explains, racist invective has become more common under the platform’s new stewardship. Chris Vognar, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for stewardship 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stewardship.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near stewardship

Cite this Entry

“Stewardship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


stew·​ard·​ship ˈst(y)ü-ərd-ˌship How to pronounce stewardship (audio)
: the office and duties of a steward
: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care
stewardship of our natural resources

More from Merriam-Webster on stewardship

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