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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.

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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for mewing
Historical Examples
  • It was a blood-curdling voice, a sound between the mewing of a cat and the wheezy chokings of a hyena.

  • I know all the tabbies in the town have been mewing about us.

    The Rough Road William John Locke
  • It reached for Quorl's pile of bones, making the mewing sound with its mouth.

    Captives of the Flame Samuel R. Delany
  • There was no sound but the purr of machinery and the mewing of gulls in the distance.

    Mistress Anne Temple Bailey
  • There are meanings, dimly caught at the time, which remain in the mind like blind creatures, mewing and half alive.

    The Blue Germ Martin Swayne
  • There seems to be a playful allusion in these words to mewian and cath, the mewing of a cat.

    Y Gododin Aneurin
  • And nobody laughed—the situation, full of grey, mewing cats, was too serious for that.

  • His voice was drowned in a wild burst of mewing and squeaking.

  • While mewing up Percy, he harried the country with increasing daring.

    King Robert the Bruce A. F. Murison
  • It was called "Concert Miaulant," from the mewing of the animals.

British Dictionary definitions for mewing

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 mewing

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.

"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
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