Definition of stow in English:



  • Pack or store (an object) carefully and neatly in a particular place.

    ‘Barney began stowing her luggage into the boot’
    • ‘The paper was carefully placed back in her binder and she stowed everything back in its proper place for once.’
    • ‘She was unable to hold his gaze and turned away to stow her toothbrush in the pack.’
    • ‘If I have to stow the umbrella away for a large part of the year in Chennai, it needs to have as few collapsible parts as possible.’
    • ‘I wave and carefully stow my bike against the fence at the back of the beer garden.’
    • ‘When you've made your purchases, they put the bags on a conveyor, and you drive around to the side, where a reasonable young person stows them in your car and thanks you.’
    • ‘She took five minutes to stow her stuff, then reported to Pip for something to do.’
    • ‘I can raise and strike a sail, reef it and stow it.’
    • ‘A large area below the lower bunk proved useful for storage, and you can stow empty luggage around the boat.’
    • ‘He unlocked it and the trunk, stowing our stuff in there.’
    • ‘Recovering, she picked up her letter and carefully stowed it in her backpack.’
    • ‘They stowed their luggage and inspected their living quarters for the next three months.’
    • ‘The design is too restrictive, it is too bulky to be stowed in a pack, it stinks when wet, and it falls to pieces the first time it is washed.’
    • ‘He stows everything in jute sacks on his cycle-cart.’
    • ‘I accomplished the journey without incident but felt a great relief when I pulled up on the drive to unload the bags and then stow the car safely back in the garage.’
    • ‘I'm tired of having to stow my little three-inch-long pocket knife in my checked baggage.’
    • ‘Security has provided us with keys to a store room - a place to safely stow our equipment while we move through the building.’
    • ‘Our own hand luggage was stowed firmly beneath our table, out of the danger zone.’
    • ‘We stow our carry-on stuff, as well as our coats in the overhead, and proceed to the dining car where breakfast is just beginning to be served.’
    • ‘Extra storage space can be found beneath the boot floor, where valuables can be stowed out of sight.’
    • ‘We stowed our things at the cheap central apartment that Diana had acquired for us and drove to the beach.’
    pack, load, store
    place, put, put away, deposit
    bundle, cram, jam, wedge, stash
    stuff, shove
    View synonyms


  • stow it!

    • informal Used to tell someone to be quiet.

      ‘stow it, motormouth!’
      • ‘And please, if you have an urge to accuse me of ‘agendas’ and all that trash, just stow it!’
      • ‘If you have have some sort of constructive criticism, lecture about my self-pity or gloat to offer, do me a favor and just stow it, will ya?’

Phrasal Verbs

  • stow away

    • Conceal oneself on a ship, aircraft, or other passenger vehicle in order to travel secretly or without paying the fare.

      ‘he stowed away on a ship bound for South Africa’
      • ‘Few people stow away on our ship, not if they know who we are.’
      • ‘He stows away on a Portugal-bound ship, has qualms about the reception that might await him, and jumps ship at St. Helena.’
      • ‘He ran away from home aged 15, stowed away on a ship and ended up in South America.’
      • ‘One might expect strong, restless, highly motivated people to follow - the kinds of people who stowed away on ships from Europe and Asia to build new lives in America.’
      • ‘Ms Hopkins believes Jack stows away on lorries and cars and is transported unwittingly far from home.’
      • ‘The operator of the Channel tunnel rail link has asked a French court to shut the refugee camp which it blames for rising numbers of illegal immigrants stowing away on its trains.’
      • ‘It is believed up to 40 people stowed away on the English, Welsh and Scottish Railways train travelling from Milan to England.’
      • ‘One night Michael stows away in his father's car and is witness to the murder of an uncooperative mob associate.’
      • ‘She recalled stowing away on a ship bound for Guardian Island.’
      • ‘Tired of that lifestyle, she stows away on a ship headed toward America.’
      • ‘A year later he arrived in Western Australia, after stowing away on a container ship.’
      • ‘By the time he was eleven years old he too wanted to see the world and stowed away on a ship in Port Adelaide bound for England.’
      • ‘Pop described how he escaped Mayo poverty, four years before the Easter Rising, by stowing away on a boat to England, where he planned to earn passage to America.’
      • ‘Three years later he was refused admission to the Paris Conservatoire because he was too young, and in 1872 he stowed away on a ship bound for the Americas.’
      • ‘Anstey stowed away at the age of 11, jumped ship in Sydney and spent 10 years as a seaman.’
      • ‘Well, no one's to leave the harbor, for fear the man will stow away on one of the ships.’
      • ‘People have also tried hiding under the 186 mph trains, just inches from live rails, clinging to the side of a passenger ferry as it made the 26-mile overnight journey to Dover and stowing away in aeroplane wheel bays.’
      • ‘Instead he stowed away on a cargo ship and ended up back in Ireland.’
      • ‘What's strange is that you're stowing away on a ship in the first place.’
      • ‘He stowed away on a ship, and I fled back to my pirate friends.’
      hide, conceal oneself, secrete oneself
      travel secretly
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: shortening of bestow.