1 [stoo, styoo]
verb (used with object)
to cook (food) by simmering or slow boiling.
verb (used without object)
to undergo cooking by simmering or slow boiling.
Informal. to fret, worry, or fuss: He stewed about his chaotic state of affairs all day.
to feel uncomfortable due to a hot, humid, stuffy atmosphere, as in a closed room; swelter.
a preparation of meat, fish, or other food cooked by stewing, especially a mixture of meat and vegetables.
Informal. a state of agitation, uneasiness, or worry.
a brothel; whorehouse.
stews, a neighborhood occupied chiefly by brothels.
Obsolete. a vessel for boiling or stewing.
stew in one's own juice, to suffer the consequences of one's own actions.

1350–1400; Middle English stewen, stuwen to take a sweat bath < Middle French estuver, verbal derivative of estuve sweat room of a bath; see stove1

stewable, adjective

1. See boil1. 5. ragout. Unabridged


2 [stoo, styoo]
noun Slang.

by shortening Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
stew1 (stjuː)
1.  a.  a dish of meat, fish, or other food, cooked by stewing
 b.  (as modifier): stew pot
2.  informal a difficult or worrying situation or a troubled state (esp in the phrase in a stew)
3.  a heterogeneous mixture: a stew of people of every race
4.  archaic (usually plural) a brothel
5.  obsolete a public room for hot steam baths
6.  to cook or cause to cook by long slow simmering
7.  informal (intr) to be troubled or agitated
8.  informal (intr) to be oppressed with heat or crowding
9.  to cause (tea) to become bitter or (of tea) to become bitter through infusing for too long
10.  stew in one's own juice to suffer unaided the consequences of one's actions
[C14 stuen to take a very hot bath, from Old French estuver, from Vulgar Latin extūfāre (unattested), from ex-1 + (unattested) tūfus vapour, from Greek tuphos]

stew2 (stjuː)
1.  a fishpond or fishtank
2.  an artificial oyster bed
[C14: from Old French estui, from estoier to shut up, confine, ultimately from Latin studiumstudy]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1400, "to bathe in a steam bath," from O.Fr. estuver (Fr. étuver) "bathe, stew," of uncertain origin. Common Romanic (cf. Sp. estufar, It. stufare), possibly from V.L. *extufare "evaporate," from ex- "out" + *tufus "vapor, steam," from Gk. typhos "smoke." Cf. O.E. stuf-bæþ "hot-air
bath;" see stove. Meaning "to boil slowly, to cook meat by simmering it in liquid" is attested from c.1420. The meaning "to be left to the consequences of one's actions" is from 1656, from fig. expression to stew in one's own juices. Slang stewed "drunk" first attested 1737.

c.1300, "vessel for cooking," from stew (v.). Later "heated room" (late 14c.). The noun meaning "stewed meat with vegetables" is first recorded 1756; Irish stew is attested from 1814. The obsolete slang meaning "brothel" (mid-14c., usually plural, stews) is from an earlier
sense of "public bath house," carried over from O.Fr. and reflecting the reputation of such houses.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with stew, also see in a stew.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


dish of meat, poultry, or fish, usually with vegetables, cooked in liquid in a closed vessel over low heat. Prepared properly, the stew never boils, but simmers at about 190 F (88 C), a process that tenderizes tougher foods and mingles flavours. Meats to be stewed are cut in cubes, fowls are jointed, and fish is cut in steaks or chunks. For brown stews, the meat pieces (and sometimes a portion of the vegetables) are seared in hot fat before the liquid is added. Poultry is often cooked a blanc, without browning, as are delicate veal and lamb stews. Root vegetables (carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, and potatoes), tomatoes, and celery are commonly added to stews. The sauce that develops as the dish cooks may be thickened by pureeing the vegetables or by incorporating flour or egg yolks.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The stew of hostilities is typical of civil wars, however.
When losses occur participants are left to stew silently.
Serve the stew in large bowls with a couple slices of bread on top.
Others go with chicken, either roasted and stuffed with coconut-flavored rice
  or in a stew.
Idioms & Phrases
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