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 His fortune gave fans hope that under his stewardship, the Mets could have competed financially with the Yankees, their crosstown rival in the Bronx known for spending lavishly on talent. Gregory Zuckerman, WSJ, "Hedge-Fund Billionaire’s Deal for Mets Teeters Near Collapse," 6 Feb. 2020 And while Patricia’s specialty, defense, has sunk under his stewardship, Shanahan’s offense, his specialty, ranked No. 4 in the league this year, and his rushing game was No. 2. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: Detroit Lions fans fighting against Super Bowl envy," 2 Feb. 2020 Leasing the land to farmers could potentially address some of those needs, said Pamela Barnes, community engagement supervisor for Cuyahoga National Park, because the farmers would take stewardship of their plots and the buildings on them. NBC News, "Could farming secure the future of America's national parks?," 4 Jan. 2020 While some damage did occur, the impacts were mitigated by local groups, including Friends of Joshua Tree and the Mojave Desert Land Trust, which take stewardship seriously, and aside from occasional sprays of graffiti, most visitors do as well. Shawnté Salabert, Outside Online, "The Ultimate Joshua Tree National Park Travel Guide," 28 Oct. 2019 Given what a bust his tax cuts have been, voters may not be as inclined to trust his economic stewardship. Michael Linden For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "After two years, Trump's tax cuts have failed Americans," 20 Dec. 2019 The Minnesota Department of Human Services takes its stewardship of state tax dollars and our clients’ privacy seriously. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "Minnesota unlikely to recoup most of $1 million embezzled in decade-old Medicaid fraud," 26 Nov. 2019 The house has become a tourist attraction, a magnet for architecture fans and a feather in the cap of USC’s architecture school, which has touted its stewardship of the Gamble House as well as of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Freeman House (1924). Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, "USC to relinquish control of the Gamble House in Pasadena," 15 Oct. 2019 Mr Macri may not have been a panacea for all Argentina’s ills, but his stewardship of the economy was far more sober than that of his predecessor, who now seems likely to be restored to high office. The Economist, "Argentina faces the prospect of another default," 15 Aug. 2019

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

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stewardship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on stewardship

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stewardship

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stewardship

Nglish: Translation of stewardship for Spanish Speakers

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