noun (1)
\ ˈstü How to pronounce stew (audio) , ˈstyü \

Definition of stew

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 obsolete : a utensil used for boiling
2 : a hot bath
3a : brothel
b : a district of brothels usually used in plural
4a : fish or meat usually with vegetables prepared by stewing
b(1) : a heterogeneous mixture
(2) : a state of heat and congestion
5 : a state of excitement, worry, or confusion


stewed; stewing; stews

Definition of stew (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to boil slowly or with simmering heat

intransitive verb

1 : to become cooked by stewing
2 : to swelter especially from confinement in a hot or stuffy atmosphere
3 : to be in a state of suppressed agitation, worry, or resentment


noun (2)

Definition of stew (Entry 3 of 3)

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Synonyms for stew

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of stew in a Sentence

Verb The meat still needs to stew. a can of stewed tomatoes She's been stewing over what he said for days.
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First Known Use of stew

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun (2)

1970, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stew

Noun (1)

Middle English stewe heated room for a steam bath, from Anglo-French estuve, from Vulgar Latin *extufa — more at stove

Noun (2)

short for stewardess

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Time Traveler for stew

Time Traveler

The first known use of stew was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Stew.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for stew



English Language Learners Definition of stew

: to cook (something) slowly in hot liquid
: to be upset or worried


\ ˈstü How to pronounce stew (audio) , ˈstyü \

Kids Definition of stew

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a dish of usually meat with vegetables prepared by slow boiling
2 : a state of excitement, worry, or confusion He got in a stew over nothing.


stewed; stewing

Kids Definition of stew (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to boil slowly : simmer stew tomatoes
2 : to become excited or worried Don't stew over what they said.


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