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  1. the tiny, high-pitched sound a cat or kitten makes.
  2. the characteristic sound a gull makes.
verb (used without object)
  1. to make a mew or emit a similar sound.

Origin of mew1

1275–1325; Middle English meuen; imitative
Can be confusedmews muse


  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)
  1. Archaic. to shut up in or as in a mew; confine; conceal (often followed by up).

Origin of mew3

1325–75; Middle English mue < Middle French, akin to muer to molt. See mew4


verb (used with or without object)
  1. to shed (feathers); to molt.

Origin of mew4

1325–75; Middle English mewen < Old French muer to molt < Latin mūtāre to change
Related formsmew·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mewed

Historical Examples

  • How precious lonesome you must be, mewed up in the house all the time.

    Paul Prescott's Charge

    Horatio Alger

  • He scarcely touched it, yet the baby stirred and mewed faintly.

    A Great Man

    Arnold Bennett

  • I wouldn't want to be mewed up in that room with the old man every night.

    The Cash Boy

    Horatio Alger Jr.

  • Then she mewed once more; but that was her last expression of doubt or dread.

    Cat and Dog

    Julia Charlotte Maitland

  • After which he mewed like a cat, and relapsed into silent meditation once more.

    Jill the Reckless

    P. G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse

British Dictionary definitions for mewed


  1. (intr) (esp of a cat) to make a characteristic high-pitched cry
  1. such a sound

Word Origin

C14: imitative


  1. any seagull, esp the common gull, Larus canusAlso called: mew gull, sea mew

Word Origin

Old English mǣw; compare Old Saxon mēu, Middle Dutch mēwe


  1. a room or cage for hawks, esp while moulting
  1. (tr often foll by up) to confine (hawks or falcons) in a shelter, cage, etc, usually by tethering them to a perch
  2. to confine, conceal

Word Origin

C14: from Old French mue, from muer to moult, from Latin mūtāre to change


  1. (intr) (of hawks or falcons) to moult
  2. (tr) 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

Word Origin and History for mewed



"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.



"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.



"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