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

With the vote affirming a 71.36% lack of confidence in his stewardship, the President was ousted after five years in charge., "Ex-Sporting CP President Embroiled in €500,000 Per Year Communications Company Scandal," 10 July 2018 But Turkey stands out as a uniquely vulnerable economy given its unorthodox financial stewardship. New York Times, "Turkey’s Economy Is So Hot That It May Face a Meltdown," 10 July 2018 With 12 shipping locations and nearly forty years of moving metal--changing a logo would require great care and stewardship. Nikki Delamotte,, "Cleveland's Christine Wisnieski on designing for modern hot spots and institutions, from Trentina to Majestic Steel: PERSONA," 26 Apr. 2018 But the integrity of any or organization rests on their sound decisions and stewardship. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "17 Charities Have Canceled Their Mar-a-Lago Galas in the Past Week," 23 Aug. 2017 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

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

8 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for stewardship

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

What made you want to look up stewardship? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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