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 This solution empowers families to learn and address critical social issues such as safety and security, environmental stewardship, financial education, effective educational systems, transportation and health. Dallas News, "Toyota and National Center for Families Learning strive to impact underserved parents and kids," 29 May 2019 Other suppliers were also frustrated by the CDC's stewardship of the stockpile, according to former officials and executives involved in the process. Anchorage Daily News, "Before the pandemic, Trump’s stockpile chief put the focus on biodefense. An old client benefited.," 5 May 2020 In 1989, the billionaire investor Warren Buffett wrote a letter reflecting on what was then his 25-year stewardship of Berkshire Hathaway. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, "Boris Johnson vs. British Officialdom," 4 Mar. 2020 Though Turfway Park’s winter racing dates lend themselves to a resilient, all-weather surface (as do CDI’s Arlington Park and Presque Isle Downs), stewardship of the Kentucky Derby carries influence far beyond the company’s corporate footprint. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "With horse safety in mind, Turfway deal signals renaissance for synthetic racetracks," 17 Feb. 2020 The day of family-friendly programs designed to promote effective stewardship of the river is centered at Belle Isle Casino but draws visitors to most of the other venues on the island, including the aquarium, the Dossin Museum and the conservatory. Greg Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit's Top 10: Ann Arbor folk fest, Dustin Lynch, Soup Bowl in Royal Oak, 'Jesus Christ Superstar'," 29 Jan. 2020 Biden’s stewardship of the Senate committee that heard Anita Hill’s testimony during Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings has at times been an issue in the race for the Democratic nomination. Fortune, "The 2020 candidates’ positions—and records—on economic issues that affect women," 28 Jan. 2020 Plus, the district is a responsible stewardship of tax dollars having passed a $609 million bond in 2017 without a tax rate increase. Houston Chronicle, "Cane Island youngsters attend Katy ISD schools," 17 Jan. 2020 The moral imperative is sometimes a religious one as well, with ideas like biblical stewardship of the Earth. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "The Climate Anxiety Decade: How We Came to Terms With Our Warming World in the 2010s," 10 Dec. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for stewardship

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stewardship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 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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