Definition of steward in English:



  • 1A person who looks after the passengers on a ship, aircraft, or train and brings them meals.

    • ‘The dining car steward soon came by taking dinner reservations.’
    • ‘According to a Maritime Union spokesman, the company should provide an extra steward once passenger numbers pass 500 but it has a history of leaving the ships short-handed.’
    • ‘Shortly after Hammond, the dining car steward came by to make dinner reservations.’
    • ‘He asks the air steward for a coffee.’
    • ‘Arriving passengers greet their cabin stewards and table waiters like long-lost family friends with smiling handshakes, hugs and much backslapping.’
    • ‘The first-class passengers had padded seats and a steward to serve them.’
    • ‘But as the pair were returning to York, a steward on the train asked them if they would wait for all other passengers to leave first.’
    • ‘Also, when I tried to retrieve my bag stored above the passengers seat, I was helped by a gentleman not by a steward or stewardess who just stood staring.’
    • ‘The Filipino cabin steward arrived with afternoon tea and dinner menus.’
    • ‘Next the dining steward made our reservation for dinner.’
    • ‘Well, if yes, then you might just be a prospective air hostess or a flight steward.’
    • ‘When I disembarked on my last cruise in December, I ran into the young man who had been our dining-room steward on the ship.’
    • ‘Instead, a steward will collect your cases once the ship has docked and will even help you pack.’
    • ‘We watched the passengers disembark, then asked the steward for shore passes.’
    • ‘His father, a flight steward, held a light-aircraft pilot's licence and would take his son flying with him.’
    • ‘Most of them were relegated to rear echelon positions or they were stewards on the boats or on the ships.’
    • ‘I am happy to report that I wore the button, and that neither their passengers, cabin stewards, nor pilots were hysterical.’
    • ‘And then there were the night stewards, usually an older steward who had spent his entire career with the ship line.’
    • ‘Dave works as a cabin crew air steward, but is hoping for a career as a commercial airline pilot.’
    • ‘The former ship's steward even got a chance to pilot a canal boat.’
    flight attendant, cabin attendant, member of the cabin staff
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    1. 1.1A person responsible for supplies of food to a college, club, or other institution.
      • ‘When he arrived, the large room was filled with people, ranging from the cook and the steward to the engineer and the linguist.’
      • ‘She is a steward aboard the ship that had been stationed off the coast of Iraq since early this year.’
      • ‘He became a steward in the merchant navy, and was a trade union activist.’
      • ‘The club steward ushered those left in the club down into the cellar.’
      major-domo, seneschal, manciple
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  • 2An official appointed to supervise arrangements or keep order at a large public event, for example a sporting event.

    • ‘Track officials ordered the evacuation of a crowd of about 1,500 in the grandstand and, with two minutes to post time, the stewards ordered the third race cancelled.’
    • ‘The cost of hiring four police officers and 15 trained stewards is expected to cost the group more than £1,000.’
    • ‘The company which supplies the stewards has also apologised for the manner in which people were asked to leave.’
    • ‘They use a lot of stewards - there is a steward on every entrance down to the concourses.’
    • ‘The stewards inquired into the performance of Grafton Style, which finished 11th in this contest.’
    • ‘The stewards inquired into some close riding between the first pair on the run from the last.’
    • ‘Each block elected a steward to make sure people knew what was going on.’
    • ‘The club needs stewards to work at Palace home games.’
    • ‘Meanwhile the union is training 250 union stewards to provide counseling and help in directing laid-off workers to aid agencies.’
    • ‘We have very highly trained stewards, head stewards and safety officers, very many of whom are from a policing background.’
    • ‘It was the second time in just over three months that appeal stewards have overturned the findings of stipendiary stewards.’
    • ‘Stewards had ruled that there was a causal link between the drug and the fatal breakdown.’
    • ‘Following an inquiry, stewards disqualified him from both races and redistributed his purse earnings earlier this year.’
    • ‘Tony's talents are not alone utilised for big games but he is a voluntary steward for club games all the year round.’
    • ‘When we attempted to train the stewards in the principles of popular education, we learned how hard it is for people who have been organizing for years to think of themselves as educators.’
    • ‘Stewards suspended him for three months for failing to report the issue.’
    • ‘Then he is seen to be stepping back into the crowd, two or three deep, and is then seen pushing at club stewards.’
    • ‘The stewards ruled that the race had been used as a schooling ground.’
    • ‘The centres have committees specialising in different forms of motor cycle sport and accredited stewards trained to consider race organisation, including the safety of riders and spectators.’
    • ‘Some of them even approached the stewards to demand a recount but the stewards aren't a very forgiving bunch.’
    official, marshal, organizer
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    1. 2.1
      short for shop steward
  • 3A person employed to manage another's property, especially a large house or estate.

    • ‘Down on the lawn, she excused herself from the others and walked toward the tree that shaded her father and the steward.’
    • ‘But, in this case, it turns out Stewart is a good steward of her property.’
    • ‘A good steward manages his owner's property well.’
    • ‘In fact, being steward of these properties is a huge financial liability.’
    • ‘In medieval Poland, Jewish estate stewards were often seen by the peasants as their direct exploiters rather than as the representatives of the feudal lords they really were.’
    • ‘He lived in the steward's house and owned most of the estate at Annaghmakerrig.’
    • ‘But it was when she retired that her ardour for history emerged, she joined the Richmond Society and began working as a steward at Ham House.’
    • ‘The house steward, Donald, picked up her baggage from rear of the carriage.’
    • ‘Landowners protected their interests by studying land law at the Inns of Court and by appointing qualified stewards to manage estates effectively.’
    • ‘The steward and farm manager are nominated and voted into office by adult colony members.’
    • ‘Anyone interested in history could also help the Trust with its research into the many aspects of the property and there is always the opportunity to train as a house steward.’
    • ‘Liset keeps accounts for two estates and two stewards.’
    • ‘The steward of his household sent messengers ahead to take word to the Ethiopian soldiers waiting in Nabatea for their sovereign to join him.’
    • ‘If you can't get a rag out of somebody's garbage, the steward of any estate will give you something to cover your nakedness.’
    • ‘Domestic staff, including stewards and ladies in waiting who attended to the Queen Mother, will be given a special sneak preview of the restored 19th-century residence.’
    • ‘If you were doing a light-hearted story about the lot of a property steward, and wanted to convey a bit of spontaneity, forget it.’
    • ‘They do not have the vote when it comes to election of colony leaders such as minister, steward and farm manager.’
    • ‘She is an active member of the Guides Association, which she joined as a Guide Leader in 1985, and is a volunteer steward at Harewood House.’
    • ‘Members may know that under the manorial system, the bailiff, the steward, and the reeve were important officers.’
    • ‘More than 150 are trained house managers and stewards.’
    agent, overseer, custodian, caretaker
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    1. 3.1A person whose responsibility it is to take care of something.
      ‘farmers pride themselves on being stewards of the countryside’
      • ‘You have been entrusted by the American people as stewards of the public airwaves.’
      • ‘Religious communities are bringing out the dimension that we are stewards of the earth.’
      • ‘"Our hope is just to be good stewards of the land," he said.’
      • ‘Siva's devotees who are scientists are protectors of humanity and stewards of the Earth.’
      • ‘As responsible stewards of the resources entrusted to us, we constantly re-evaluate our programs.’
      • ‘How are you a faithful steward of the gifts God has given you for the sake of the whole church?’
      • ‘Underlying it all is the desire to be good stewards of the land.’
      • ‘What he does not seem to be is the self-effacing steward, in a long line of self-effacing stewards, of the world's greatest newspaper.’
      • ‘Our planet is to be honoured because it reflects something of our Maker and also because we are commanded to be responsible stewards.’
      • ‘With strong partners, we have an opportunity to create active stewards of our fragile coastal environment.’
      • ‘We are indeed stewards of Creation, appointed as such by God.’
      • ‘Corporate agriculture is turning family and peasant farmers from stewards of the land into servants, or eradicating their livelihoods completely.’
      • ‘We should see ourselves as stewards of the earth and not masters.’
      • ‘Instead, within one kingdom, God's people live as stewards of God's creation.’
      • ‘He then put human beings throughout the world, giving them great power as stewards of all Creation.’
      • ‘Such rapid growth also tests their mettle as stewards of the built environment.’
      • ‘These environmental stewards manage the forests with love for the environment and rational science to provide wood for our nation and a future for their children.’
      • ‘As a result, the students become informed stewards of this precious natural resource.’
      • ‘We can make a difference in helping families become stewards of God's precious gift of time together.’


  • 1(of an official) supervise arrangements or keep order at (a large public event)

    ‘the event was organized and stewarded properly’
    • ‘My other half was stewarding at the London event and was happy by the way things were going when I spoke to him a couple of hours ago.’
    • ‘The route will be fully stewarded and clearly signposted throughout and there will be refreshment points on the route.’
    • ‘The small charge is a contribution towards the costs of providing and stewarding the area.’
    • ‘Thanks to my pal Blake for stewarding all of this.’
    • ‘Kingston University's equal opportunities officer said students and volunteers would help steward the event.’
    • ‘The 10k course, which passes through Croydon and Shirley, will be stewarded by members of Croydon Lions and Croydon Harriers.’
    • ‘Thanks should also go to the two local councillors who helped the Community Association steward the event.’
    • ‘That date allowed both events to take place, with a casual workforce likely to steward the festival.’
    • ‘Proceeds are ploughed back into the show, with some donations going to Bingley Rotary Club, which stewards the event.’
    • ‘So it was with this recently gained information that I found myself inside said giant tent, freezing to death stewarding a Greek concert.’
    • ‘The village society is appealing for more volunteers to help steward the event, particularly people with knowledge of sound systems and amplification.’
    • ‘The monthly event, stewarded by the cruisers themselves, aims at driving away the minority of troublemakers who race each other and perform dangerous, screeching wheelspins.’
    • ‘Road Club members will be stewarding all access roads on the route and the co-operation of the public would be greatly appreciated.’
    • ‘Anyone interested in stewarding, please forward their names to any officer of the club.’
    • ‘That's why these events need to be licensed and stewarded.’
  • 2Manage or look after (another's property)

    • ‘Increasingly, church leaders understand there is a higher degree of accountability for those of us who steward funds.’
    • ‘It is true she has stewarded his estate well, building it into a fortune worth about #575 million.’
    • ‘What if all other forms of capital were to be stewarded this way?’
    • ‘A year ago, they made plans to leave it to the foundation which will steward the land.’
    • ‘Even if they did not quite trust him to steward their money, they trusted capable, honest Paul.’


Old English stīweard, from stig (probably in the sense house, hall) + weard ward. The verb dates from the early 17th century.