Main definitions of mew in English

: mew1mew2

mew1

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • (of a cat or gull) make a characteristic high-pitched crying noise:

    ‘cats mewing to be fed’
    ‘he heard mewing somewhere near the house’
    • ‘Gradually he opened his eyes and the cat mewed before jumping down and shaking its head drowsily.’
    • ‘The next house had a collection of pickaninny dolls on shelves running the length of the living room, and a plump orange cat that blinked and mewed inquisitively as he passed.’
    • ‘That's because a cat began mewing from an alley nearby.’
    • ‘Walking into the living-room, my eyes scanned every item for clues, while the cat prowled through my legs and mewed in an effort to grab my attention.’
    • ‘Her cat mewed at her anxiously and snarled at Cameron, who snarled right back.’
    • ‘A cat mewed, a baby cried, and something heavy fell and shattered.’
    • ‘An orange tabby cat poked its head out of the grass and mewed.’
    • ‘Suddenly, I was back on the couch, a black cat was sitting on my chest mewing loudly; I was completely paralyzed and I couldn't speak.’
    • ‘But then I go home and my kitten comes running out mewing and overwhelming my ankles with fuzzy friction until I pick it up.’
    • ‘The baby was found at 3am by a Spanish holidaymaker who thought he had heard a cat mewing.’
    • ‘The old surveillance cat mewed pitifully on the way.’
    • ‘Her fluffy white cat mewed and jumped onto the table.’
    • ‘A lone cat mewed, and hid in the only home it would find in this section of town; a trash can.’
    • ‘The cat mewed again and immediately dropped down onto the sidewalk in front of the café's door for another roll-around.’
    • ‘Luke is behind her with a cat rubbing his legs, mewing for food.’
    • ‘Rubbing against the woman's arm, the cat mewed impatiently.’
    • ‘As I'm pausing to take a few photographs of the black cat, I hear mewing and jingling and here's this second cat, climbing the front steps and posing with an attitude of ownership.’
    • ‘The kitten followed me, mewing at my heels, rubbing up against my ankles when I stopped in the doorway.’
    • ‘And then suddenly, he was gone, the kitten mewing on my bed, looking slightly annoyed.’
    • ‘When I found her as a kitten, she was sitting in a ditch mewing.’
    miaow, meow, mewl, yowl, cry
    cry, screech, squawk
    cry, crying, screech, screeching, squawking
    miaowing, meowing, mewling, yowling
    View synonyms

noun

  • The high-pitched cry of a cat or gull:

    ‘a kitten's mew’
    • ‘I smiled softly and turned onto my back, remembering that Hope had been there only when she gave an annoyed mew and jumped off.’
    • ‘Looking over Brie's shoulder she let out a mew of disgust.’
    • ‘A mew made me look sharply at him, and he laughed as the kitten peeked from the cargo pocket on his left pant leg.’
    • ‘The mew of a hungry cat drifts pitifully from the nearby fish stall.’
    • ‘The kitten in turn nibbled on my finger and looked at me with its striking blue eyes and gave a tiny mew.’
    • ‘She grabbed him by the ankle, and he let out a small mew, jerked, and might have broken free if she had not tightened her grasp.’
    • ‘Alana's mother placed it on Alana's lap and Alana thought she heard a small mew.’
    • ‘There was a high-pitched mew, and one of the kitten's paws slashed up against the girl's right hand.’
    • ‘Its call is a soft mew that could be mistaken for a cat in distress.’
    • ‘As she walked, she heard a fleeting mew from Ruby, who seemed to be getting anxious.’
    • ‘Drake gave a mew, he was not to be forgotten here.’
    • ‘Then I heard the red-head chattering and the plaintive mew of the sapsucker.’
    • ‘A mew broke into Grace's thoughts, and she blinked down at the small kitten, who was attempting to make off with her fishnets.’
    • ‘He responded with a friendly mew and then returned to his purring.’
    • ‘It sounded like a faint mew of a kitten, but I wasn't really sure.’
    • ‘His answer was a soft mew from Fluffy, the cat at his feet.’
    • ‘The cat got off him and gave a little mew like a child guilty of stealing cookies.’
    • ‘The mystery at its heart is never very gripping, and the final twist seems both unnecessary and tame - a kitten's mew instead of a tiger's snarl.’
    • ‘He's big now, but he has a faint purr, a tiny kitten peeping mew.’
    • ‘The kitten gave her a quizzical look but did not let out a mew.’

Origin

Middle English: imitative.

Pronunciation

mew

/mjuː/

Main definitions of mew in English

: mew1mew2

mew2

noun

usually mews
Sport
  • A cage or building for trained hawks, especially while they are moulting.

    • ‘It was quieter here, and more orderly, with falcon mews and kennels for the Baron's hunting dogs ranged against the wall.’
    • ‘Bobby hoisted his one-year-old son, Aidan, into a backpack and went to transfer two pet hawks from their outdoor weathering perch to an indoor mews.’
    • ‘We do not have an outdoor mew to accommodate this size of bird and it's too cold outside for the condor now anyway.’

verb

Sport
  • 1[no object] (of a trained hawk) moult:

    ‘the eyasses clung dully to their leashes as if they were mewing’
    • ‘The word itself derives from the royal stables at Charing Cross in London built on the site where the royal hawks were once moulted or mewed.’
    cry, screech, squawk
    View synonyms
  • 2[with object] Confine (a trained hawk) to a cage or building while moulting:

    ‘Raoul orders his tent to be pitched and his hawks to be mewed’
    1. 2.1 Confine (someone) in a restricting place or situation:
      ‘a lovely wife mewed up in an Oxfordshire farmhouse’
      • ‘We are also asked to believe that, out of shame at his daughter's disability, he mewed her and her late mother up in ever smaller, tighter rooms.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French mue, from muer to moult, from Latin mutare to change.

Pronunciation

mew

/mjuː/