[stoo, styoo]

verb (used with object)

to cook (food) by simmering or slow boiling.

verb (used without object)



    stew in one's own juice, to suffer the consequences of one's own actions.

Origin of stew

1350–1400; Middle English stewen, stuwen to take a sweat bath < Middle French estuver, verbal derivative of estuve sweat room of a bath; see stove1
Related formsstew·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms for stew

5. ragout.

Synonym study

1. See boil1.


[stoo, styoo]

noun Slang.

a male or female flight attendant.

Origin of stew

1970–1975; shortening of steward or stewardess Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stew

Contemporary Examples of stew

Historical Examples of stew

British Dictionary definitions for stew




  1. a dish of meat, fish, or other food, cooked by stewing
  2. (as modifier)stew pot
informal a difficult or worrying situation or a troubled state (esp in the phrase in a stew)
a heterogeneous mixturea stew of people of every race
(usually plural) archaic a brothel
obsolete a public room for hot steam baths


to cook or cause to cook by long slow simmering
(intr) informal to be troubled or agitated
(intr) informal to be oppressed with heat or crowding
to cause (tea) to become bitter or (of tea) to become bitter through infusing for too long
stew in one's own juice to suffer unaided the consequences of one's actions

Word Origin for stew

C14 stuen to take a very hot bath, from Old French estuver, from Vulgar Latin extūfāre (unattested), from ex- 1 + (unattested) tūfus vapour, from Greek tuphos



noun British

a fishpond or fishtank
an artificial oyster bed

Word Origin for stew

C14: from Old French estui, from estoier to shut up, confine, ultimately from Latin studium study
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 stew

c.1400, "to bathe in a steam bath," from Old French estuver (French étuver) "bathe, stew," of uncertain origin. Common Romanic (cf. Spanish estufar, Italian stufare), possibly from Vulgar Latin *extufare "evaporate," from ex- "out" + *tufus "vapor, steam," from Greek typhos "smoke." Cf. Old English stuf-bæþ "hot-air bath;" see stove. Meaning "to boil slowly, to cook meat by simmering it in liquid" is attested from early 15c. The meaning "to be left to the consequences of one's actions" is from 1650s, from figurative expression to stew in one's own juices. Slang stewed "drunk" first attested 1737.


c.1300, "vessel for cooking," from stew (v.). Later "heated room" (late 14c.). The noun meaning "stewed meat with vegetables" is first recorded 1756; Irish stew is attested from 1814. The obsolete slang meaning "brothel" (mid-14c., usually plural, stews) is from an earlier sense of "public bath house," carried over from Old French and reflecting the reputation of such houses.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with stew


In addition to the idiom beginning with stew

  • stew in one's own juice

also see:

  • in a stew
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.