[ stoo, styoo ]
See synonyms for: stewstewedstewing on

verb (used with object)
  1. to cook (food) by simmering or slow boiling.

verb (used without object)
  1. to undergo cooking by simmering or slow boiling.

  2. Informal. to fret, worry, or fuss: He stewed about his chaotic state of affairs all day.

  1. to feel uncomfortable due to a hot, humid, stuffy atmosphere, as in a closed room; swelter.

  1. a preparation of meat, fish, or other food cooked by stewing, especially a mixture of meat and vegetables.

  2. Informal. a state of agitation, uneasiness, or worry.

  1. stews, a neighborhood occupied chiefly by brothels.

  2. Obsolete. a vessel for boiling or stewing.

Idioms about stew

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

Origin of stew

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English steuen, stuwe “to take a sweat bath,” from Middle French estuver, verbal derivative of estuve “sweat room of a bath”; see origin at stove1

synonym study For stew

1. See boil1.

Other words for stew

Other words from stew

  • stew·a·ble, adjective

Other definitions for stew (2 of 2)

[ stoo, styoo ]

  1. a male or female flight attendant.

Origin of stew

An Americanism dating back to 1970–1975; shortening of steward or stewardess Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use stew in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for stew (1 of 2)


/ (stjuː) /

    • a dish of meat, fish, or other food, cooked by stewing

    • (as modifier): stew pot

  1. informal a difficult or worrying situation or a troubled state (esp in the phrase in a stew)

  1. a heterogeneous mixture: a stew of people of every race

  2. (usually plural) archaic a brothel

  3. obsolete a public room for hot steam baths

  1. to cook or cause to cook by long slow simmering

  2. (intr) informal to be troubled or agitated

  1. (intr) informal to be oppressed with heat or crowding

  2. to cause (tea) to become bitter or (of tea) to become bitter through infusing for too long

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

Origin of 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

British Dictionary definitions for stew (2 of 2)


/ (stjuː) /

  1. a fishpond or fishtank

  2. an artificial oyster bed

Origin of 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

Other 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.