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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for stowing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He found plenty of occupation in receiving and stowing the provisions and stores, and in setting up the rigging and bending sails.

    Villegagnon W.H.G. Kingston
  • “Why, by stowing them away in the locker and jumping overboard,” answered Desmond.

    The Three Commanders W.H.G. Kingston
  • I found also a bald-headed passenger, who was standing with his back to me stowing his small luggage into the lower berth.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • Some he eliminated from his design, stowing them back in the pockets easiest to reach.

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm Irvin S. Cobb
  • After stowing him safely away and giving him feed, I returned to the deck in order to wave my hat to Burton.

  • The implements with which blubber is "made off," or cut for stowing away.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Brad and Dan, aided by Fred, quickly gathered up the more cumbersome items, stowing them in the craft.

  • It is used for similar purposes, and also in stowing the anchor, &c.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • While pocketing my change and stowing away my ticket I had opportunity to survey her further.

    Desert Dust Edwin L. Sabin
British Dictionary definitions for stowing


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 stowing



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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