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[stoh] /stoʊ/
verb (used with object)
  1. to put (cargo, provisions, etc.) in the places intended for them.
  2. to put (sails, spars, gear, etc.) in the proper place or condition when not in use.
to put in a place or receptacle, as for storage or reserve; pack:
He stowed the potatoes in our cellar.
to fill (a place or receptacle) by packing:
to stow a carton with books.
to have or afford room for; hold.
Slang. to stop; break off:
Stow it! Stow the talk!
to put away, as in a safe or convenient place (often followed by away).
to lodge or quarter.
Verb phrases
stow away, to conceal oneself aboard a ship or other conveyance in order to obtain free transportation or to elude pursuers.
Origin of stow
1300-50; Middle English stowen, Old English stōwigan to keep, hold back (literally, to place), derivative of stōw place; akin to Old Norse eldstō fireplace, Gothic stojan to judge (literally, to place)
Related forms
stowable, adjective
restow, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for stow away
Historical Examples
  • You stow away some idea and don't want it, say for ten years.

    The Poet at the Breakfast Table Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • “That depends on what we stow away in the hold,” he answered, with a knowing wink.

    Paddy Finn W. H. G. Kingston
  • We should find them rather too cumbrous to stow away in our game-bags.

    The Three Admirals W.H.G. Kingston
  • The next articles that they brought to stow away were the provisions.

    The Little Savage Captain Frederick Marryat
  • He must oversee the freight men as they stow away the goods in the cars.

    Silver Chimes in Syria W. S. Nelson
  • I reckon you could stow away six hundred blacks in her 'tween decks.'

    The Last Entry William Clark Russell
  • You go below there, will you, and stow away the coats and things.

  • Dina clung to him, reached with her hands for a place to stow away some cakes.

    A Russian Proprietor Lyof N. Tolstoi
  • "You can stow away what's in 'em in the drawers," said the boy.

    The Lady of the Aroostook William Dean Howells
  • I had to adjust my buggy pole and to stow away a great number of parcels.

    Over Prairie Trails Frederick Philip Grove
British Dictionary definitions for stow away


verb (transitive)
(often foll by away) to pack or store
to fill by packing
(nautical) to pack or put away (cargo, sails and other gear, etc)
to have enough room for
(usually imperative) (Brit, slang) to cease from: stow your noise!, stow it!
Word Origin
Old English stōwian to keep, hold back, from stōw a place; related to Old High German stouwen to accuse, Gothic stōjan to judge, Old Slavonic staviti to place


John. 1525–1605, English antiquary, noted for his Survey of London and Westminster (1598; 1603)
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 stow away



c.1300, verbal use of Old English noun stow "a place" (common in place names) from Proto-Germanic *stowijanan (cf. Old Frisian sto "place," Middle Low German, Middle Dutch, Dutch stouwen "to stow," Old High German stouwen "to stop, check," German stauen "to stow"), from PIE *stau-, from root *sta- "to stand" (cf. Old Church Slavonic stavljo "to place," Lithuanian stoviu "to stand;" see stet). The nautical sense of "put away to be stored, pack" (1550s) was enforced by Dutch stouwen "to cram, pack up close." Related: Stowed; stowing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with stow away

stow away

Put aside or store something until needed, as in We generally stow away the lawn furniture in the toolshed. [ Late 1700s ]
Hide oneself aboard ship or in a vehicle in order to get free transportation, as in The youngsters planned to stow away on a freighter but they never even got to the waterfront. This usage gave rise to the noun stowaway. [ Mid-1800s ]
Greedily consume food or drink, as in Bob sure can stow away a lot in a short time. [ ; mid-1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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