October 28, 2011
- steward (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : a manager of a large home, estate, or organization2 : a person employed to manage the supply and distribution of food and attend the needs of passengers (as on a train, airplane, or ship)
- How do you use it?
- The cruise-ship line employs a large team of stewards to cater to the culinary tastes of each passenger.
- Are you a word wiz?
"Steward" goes back to the Old English word "stig" or "sti," which could be used to refer to two very different kinds of places. Which of the answers do you think names the places that "stig, sti" referred to?The Old English word "stig" or "sti" meant both "sty" (in the sense of "pigpen") and "hall" (in the sense of "castle" or "manor"). "Steward" comes from Old English "stigweard" or "stiweard," a combination of "stig" or "sti" with "weard," meaning "keeper or guardian." Despite the dual meaning of "stig" and "sti," there's no evidence that "stigweard" or "stiweard" ever referred to a keeper of pigsties. Instead, it meant the keeper of the hall who, in a wealthy medieval English household, was responsible for making decisions concerning both the spending and saving of the family's money. This power of the purse made the steward a person of importance.