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mew1

[myoo] /myu/
noun
1.
the tiny, high-pitched sound a cat or kitten makes.
2.
the characteristic sound a gull makes.
verb (used without object)
3.
to make a mew or emit a similar sound.
Origin of mew1
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English meuen; imitative
Can be confused
mews, muse.

mew2

[myoo] /myu/
noun
1.
a small gull, Larus canus, of Eurasia and northwestern North America.
Also called mew gull.
Origin
before 900; Middle English; Old English mǣwe; cognate with German Müwe

mew3

[myoo] /myu/
noun
1.
a cage for hawks, especially while molting.
2.
a pen in which poultry is fattened.
3.
a place of retirement or concealment.
4.
mews, (usually used with a singular verb) Chiefly British.
  1. (formerly) an area of stables built around a small street.
  2. a street having small apartments converted from such stables.
verb (used with object)
5.
Archaic. to shut up in or as in a mew; confine; conceal (often followed by up).
Origin
1325-75; Middle English mue < Middle French, akin to muer to molt. See mew4

mew4

[myoo] /myu/
verb (used with or without object)
1.
to shed (feathers); to molt.
Origin
1325-75; Middle English mewen < Old French muer to molt < Latin mūtāre to change
Related forms
mewer, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mew
Historical Examples
  • mew,” said the cat, as he sprang softly into the room; but the prince did not heed him.

    Irish Fairy Tales Edmond Leamy
  • mew,” again said the cat; but again the prince did not heed him.

    Irish Fairy Tales Edmond Leamy
  • So he turned himself into a cat, and began to mew outside the door.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • "mew," said the cat, as he sprang softly into the room; but the prince did not heed him.

    The Golden Spears Edmund Leamy
  • "mew," again said the cat; but again the prince did not heed him.

    The Golden Spears Edmund Leamy
  • "mew," said the cat the third time, and he jumped up on the prince's knee.

    The Golden Spears Edmund Leamy
  • She did not seem in the least afraid until I was in the water, and then she began to mew.

  • The Persian's mew was rather feebler that day, because she had a cold.

    Pussy and Doggy Tales Edith Nesbit
  • Though doors are opened at her mew, You often have to push her through.

  • Miss Kitty Cat let go of her prize with a mew of disappointment.

    The Tale of Miss Kitty Cat Arthur Scott Bailey
British Dictionary definitions for mew

mew1

/mjuː/
verb
1.
(intransitive) (esp of a cat) to make a characteristic high-pitched cry
noun
2.
such a sound
Word Origin
C14: imitative

mew2

/mjuː/
noun
1.
any seagull, esp the common gull, Larus canus Also called mew gull, sea mew
Word Origin
Old English mǣw; compare Old Saxon mēu, Middle Dutch mēwe

mew3

/mjuː/
noun
1.
a room or cage for hawks, esp while moulting
verb
2.
(transitive) often foll by up. to confine (hawks or falcons) in a shelter, cage, etc, usually by tethering them to a perch
3.
to confine, conceal
Word Origin
C14: from Old French mue, from muer to moult, from Latin mūtāre to change

mew4

/mjuː/
verb
1.
(intransitive) (of hawks or falcons) to moult
2.
(transitive) (obsolete) to shed (one's covering, clothes, etc)
Word Origin
C14: from Old French muer to moult, from Latin mūtāre to change
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mew
v.

"make a sound like a cat," early 14c., mewen, of imitative origin (cf. German miauen, French miauler, Italian miagolare, Spanish maullar, and see meow). Related: Mewed; mewing. As a noun from 1590s.

n.1

"seagull," Old English mæw, from Proto-Germanic *maigwis (cf. Old Saxon mew, Frisian meau, Middle Dutch and Middle Low German mewe, Dutch meeuw "gull"), imitative of its cry. Old French moue (Modern French mouette) and Lithuanian mevas are Germanic loan-words.

n.2

"cage," c.1300, from Old French mue "cage for hawks, especially when molting," from muer "to molt," from Latin mutare "to change" (see mutable).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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