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[stoo-erd, styoo-] /ˈstu ərd, ˈstyu-/
a person who manages another's property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others.
a person who has charge of the household of another, buying or obtaining food, directing the servants, etc.
an employee who has charge of the table, wine, servants, etc., in a club, restaurant, or the like.
a person who attends to the domestic concerns of persons on board a vessel, as in overseeing maids and waiters.
an employee on a ship, train, or bus who waits on and is responsible for the comfort of passengers, takes orders for or distributes food, etc.
a flight attendant.
a person appointed by an organization or group to supervise the affairs of that group at certain functions.
U.S. Navy. a petty officer in charge of officer's quarters and mess.
verb (used with object)
to act as steward of; manage.
verb (used without object)
to act or serve as steward.
before 900; Middle English; Old English stīweard, stigweard, equivalent to stig- (sense uncertain; probably “house, hall”; see sty1) + weard ward2
Related forms
stewardship, noun
understeward, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for stewards
  • Without a share of the proceeds, the stewards of the world's biodiversity have no incentive to preserve it.
  • Let the big gas and oil companies become stewards of the planet.
  • If people don't spend time with nature, they won't develop a relationship with it and be good stewards of it in the future.
  • stewards take pride in this ownership and understand the cultural and natural resources that these lands offer.
  • For decades now, the stewards of this cherished park have been searching for balance.
  • We can also become better stewards of our wild spaces, protecting corridors so that these animals on the move can stay that way.
  • However, it is also our responsibility to be good stewards of our lands.
  • The ranchers used to be really responsible stewards, but they tend to be intolerant of predators.
  • The jet's kitchen serves full dinners prepared by military stewards, but they are unlikely to win culinary or nutrition awards.
  • Librarians have an obligation not only to be unbiased, but to act as stewards in shaping collections with lasting scholarly value.
British Dictionary definitions for stewards


a person who administers the property, house, finances, etc, of another
a person who manages the eating arrangements, staff, or service at a club, hotel, etc
a person who attends to passengers on an aircraft, ship or train
a mess attendant in a naval mess afloat or ashore
a person who helps to supervise some event or proceedings in an official capacity
short for shop steward
to act or serve as a steward (of something)
Derived Forms
stewardship, noun
Word Origin
Old English stigweard, from stig hall (see sty) + weardward
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 stewards



Old English stiward, stigweard "house guardian," from stig "hall, pen" + weard "guard." Used after the Conquest as the equivalent of Old French seneschal (q.v.). Meaning "overseer of workmen" is attested from c.1300. The sense of "officer on a ship in charge of provisions and meals" is first recorded mid-15c.; extended to trains 1906. This was the title of a class of high officers of the state in early England and Scotland, hence meaning "one who manages affairs of an estate on behalf of his employer" (late 14c.).

The Scottish form is reflected in Stewart, name of the royal house, from Walter (the) Steward, who married (1315) Marjorie de Bruce, daughter of King Robert. The terminal -t is a Scottish form (late 14c.). Stuart is a French spelling, attested from 1429 and adopted by Mary, Queen of Scots.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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