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 expertise lies in stewardship, fundraising, electronic giving, and change enablement. Patrick Coleman, Forbes, 17 May 2021 The annual competition, hosted by the Wyland Foundation, involves cities throughout the nation promoting environmental stewardship, drought resiliency and watershed protection. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Mar. 2021 Homer Glen is seeking the road district’s assets through a transfer of stewardship, which the township has opposed. Michelle Mullins,, 21 Mar. 2021 In recent years, interest among New Zealanders has grown in the traditional Maori concept of kaitiakitanga — good stewardship and holistic protection of the environment, a way of paying heed to humanity's connection to nature. Jeff Chu, Travel + Leisure, 18 Mar. 2021 Their vision of success has less to do with financial prosperity or personal comfort than with the more demanding values of stewardship, investment and care. Grace Olmstead, WSJ, 13 Mar. 2021 It’s a balancing act of historical stewardship, practical considerations, and personal preferences. Diana Budds, Curbed, 2 Feb. 2021 But Disney’s stewardship, coupled with the wide availability of higher-quality moviemaking tools, has inaugurated a new era of fan creativity. New York Times, 7 Jan. 2021 Though Cohen had an insider trading scandal in his background, he was ultimately approved by MLB owners and New York Mayor Bill DiBlasio and has been greeted as a savior by Mets fans, long frustrated by the Wilpons’ stewardship. Dom Amore,, 31 Dec. 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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Learn More About stewardship

Time Traveler for stewardship

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for stewardship

Last Updated

21 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stewardship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for stewardship



English Language Learners Definition of stewardship

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

More from Merriam-Webster on stewardship

Nglish: Translation of stewardship for Spanish Speakers


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