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[steer-ij] /ˈstɪər ɪdʒ/
a part or division of a ship, formerly the part containing the steering apparatus.
(in a passenger ship) the part or accommodations allotted to the passengers who travel at the cheapest rate.
Origin of steerage
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English sterage. See steer1, -age Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for steerage
  • Traveler has some tips to help you survive steerage.
  • We got time to clear up the steerage and forecastle, and set things to rights, and to overhaul our wet clothes a little.
  • Those traveling in steerage, however, are not integrating.
  • Slow-no-wake is defined as the minimum speed required to maintain steerage.
  • Slow-no-wake means that speed at which a boat moves as slowly as possible while still maintaining steerage control.
  • Plot the trajectory of the vessel if it is drifting or at risk of losing power or steerage.
  • Concern was expressed about any steerage aspects and squeezing out small providers.
British Dictionary definitions for steerage


the cheapest accommodation on a passenger ship, originally the compartments containing the steering apparatus
an instance or the practice of steering and the effect of this on a vessel or vehicle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for steerage

mid-15c., "action of steering," from steer (v.) + -age. Meaning "part of a ship in front of the chief cabin" is from 1610s; originally where the steering apparatus of the ship was, it retained the name after the introduction of the deck wheel in early 18c.; hence meaning "section of a ship with the cheapest accommodations," first recorded 1804.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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