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mew1

[myoo]
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noun
  1. the tiny, high-pitched sound a cat or kitten makes.
  2. the characteristic sound a gull makes.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to make a mew or emit a similar sound.
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Origin of mew1

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

mew2

[myoo]
noun
  1. a small gull, Larus canus, of Eurasia and northwestern North America.
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Origin of mew2

before 900; Middle English; Old English mǣwe; cognate with German Müwe
Also called mew gull.

mew3

[myoo]
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.
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verb (used with object)
  1. Archaic. to shut up in or as in a mew; confine; conceal (often followed by up).
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Origin of mew3

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

mew4

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

Related Words

fencewallboundrestrictinternwrapcircumscribeencompassimbueveillimitpenjailcircleconfineimpoundencirclecoopblockadehedge

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


British Dictionary definitions for mew

mew1

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

C14: imitative

mew2

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

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

mew3

noun
  1. a room or cage for hawks, esp while moulting
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verb
  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
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Word Origin

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

mew4

verb
  1. (intr) (of hawks or falcons) to moult
  2. (tr) obsolete to shed (one's covering, clothes, etc)
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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 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.

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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.

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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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper