[ stoh-uh-wey ]
/ ˈstoʊ əˌweɪ /
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a person who hides aboard a ship or airplane in order to obtain free transportation or elude pursuers.
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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Origin of stowaway

First recorded in 1850–55; noun use of verb phrase stow away
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use stowaway in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for stowaway

/ (ˈstəʊəˌweɪ) /

a person who hides aboard a vehicle, ship, or aircraft in order to gain free passage
verb stow away
(intr, adverb) to travel in such a way
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 stowaway

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. [Colloquial; mid-1800s]

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