stewardship

noun

stew·​ard·​ship ˈstü-ərd-ˌship How to pronounce stewardship (audio)
ˈstyü-;
ˈst(y)u̇rd-
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).

Example Sentences

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 Duties include offering guidance to the Deputy Ranger on the stewardship of one of the country's oldest estates, Buckingham Palace said in a statement. Hafsa Khalil, CNN, 14 Nov. 2022 The latest poll gives Bass a tiny but shrinking lead among likely voters, with a smallish 13% undecided on stewardship of a rambling metropolis in which mega-mansions share ZIP codes with tent cities. Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 5 Nov. 2022 Inflation has become a signature issue for Republican attacks on the Democrats' stewardship of the economy. Paul Wiseman, BostonGlobe.com, 27 Oct. 2022 Inflation has become a signature issue for Republican attacks on the Democrats’ stewardship of the economy. Paul Wiseman, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Oct. 2022 Inflation has become a signature issue for Republican attacks on the Democrats’ stewardship of the economy. Paul Wiseman, Fortune, 27 Oct. 2022 Inflation has become a signature issue for Republican attacks on the Democrats’ stewardship of the economy. Paul Wiseman, Chicago Tribune, 27 Oct. 2022 Inflation has become a signature issue for Republican attacks on the Democrats’ stewardship of the economy. Paul Wiseman, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 Oct. 2022 To put a golden seal on her stewardship of the theater with a production of this caliber makes this an event worth celebrating. Charles Isherwood, WSJ, 18 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stewardship. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

stewardship

noun
stew·​ard·​ship ˈst(y)ü-ərd-ˌship How to pronounce stewardship (audio)
ˈst(y)u̇(-ə)rd-
1
: the office and duties of a steward
2
: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care
stewardship of our natural resources

More from Merriam-Webster on stewardship

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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