pew

pew

[pyoo]
noun
1.
(in a church) one of a number of fixed, benchlike seats with backs, accessible by aisles, for the use of the congregation.
2.
an enclosed seat in a church, or an enclosure with seats, usually reserved for a family or other group of worshipers.
3.
those occupying pews; congregation.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English puwe < Middle French puie balcony < Latin podia, plural (taken as singular) of podium balcony. See podium

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
pew (pjuː)
 
n
1.  in a church
 a.  one of several long benchlike seats with backs, used by the congregation
 b.  an enclosed compartment reserved for the use of a family or other small group
2.  informal (Brit) a seat (esp in the phrase take a pew)
 
[C14 pywe, from Old French puye, from Latin podium a balcony, from Greek podion supporting structure, from pous foot]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

pew
1393, "raised, enclosed seat for certain worshippers" (ladies, important men, etc.), from O.Fr. puie, puy "balcony, elevation," from L. podia, pl. of podium "elevated place," also "balcony in a Roman theater" (see podium). Meaning "fixed bench with a back, for a number of
worshippers" is attested from 1631.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

pew

originally a raised and enclosed place in a church designed for an ecclesiastical dignitary or officer; the meaning was later extended to include special seating in the body of the church for distinguished laity and, finally, to include all church seating. In its early stages, the pew was meant for standing in and was close in conception to a pulpit; but in its second phase of development, it became an elaborate wooden structure, shut off from the main body of the nave, with seats, prayer benches, and other accessories. Such pews were owned by individuals or institutions and appeared both in wills and in legal actions

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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