- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /mjuː/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /mju/
- Rhymes: -uː
- Homophone: mu
From Middle English mewe, mowe, meau, from Old English mǣw, from Proto-West Germanic *maiwī, from Proto-Germanic *mai(h)waz (“seagull”). See also West Frisian meau, miuw, Dutch meeuw, German Möwe; akin to Latvian maût (“to roar”), Old Church Slavonic мꙑꙗти (myjati, “to mew”).
mew (plural mews)
- (archaic, poetic, dialectal) A gull, seagull.
- 1954, J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring:
- From helm to sea they saw him leap, / As arrow from the string, / And dive into the water deep, / As mew upon the wing.
mew (plural mews)
- (obsolete) A prison, or other place of confinement.
- (obsolete) A hiding place; a secret store or den.
- (obsolete) A breeding-cage for birds.
- (falconry) A cage for hawks, especially while moulting.
- 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, →OCLC:
- A horse in a stable that never travels, a hawk in a mew that seldom flies, are both subject to diseases; which, left unto themselves, are most free from any such encumbrances.
- (falconry, in the plural) A building or set of buildings where moulting birds are kept.
- (archaic) To shut away, confine, lock up.
- c. 1593 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i]:
- More pity that the eagle should be mew’d,
While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.
- 1693, John Dryden (translator), The Satires of Juvenal, London: Jacob Tonson, Satire 1, p. 10,
- […] Nay some have learn’d the trick
- To beg for absent persons; feign them sick,
- Close mew’d in their Sedans, for fear of air:
- 1748, Tobias Smollett, chapter 50, in The Adventures of Roderick Random.:
- When it came to his turn to mention Sir John Sparkle, he represented him as a man of an immense estate and narrow disposition, who mewed up his only child, a fine young lady, from the conversation of mankind, under the strict watch and inspection of an old governante, who was either so honest, envious, or insatiable, that nobody had been as yet able to make her a friend, or get access to her charge, though numbers attempted it every day […]
- 1928, Virginia Woolf, chapter 5, in Orlando: A Biography, London: The Hogarth Press, →OCLC; republished as Orlando: A Biography (eBook no. 0200331h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg Australia, July 2015:
- […] it was all very well for Orlando to mew herself in her house at Blackfriars and pretend that the climate was the same […]
- (of a bird) To moult.
- The hawk mewed his feathers.
- (of a bird, obsolete) To cause to moult.
- (of a deer, obsolete) To shed antlers.
mew (plural mews)
- The crying sound of a cat; a meow, especially of a kitten.
- The crying sound of a gull or buzzard.
- (obsolete) An exclamation of disapproval; a boo.
- (of a cat, especially of a kitten) To meow.
- (of a gull or buzzard) To make its cry.
- A cat's (especially a kitten's) cry.
- A gull's or buzzard's cry.
- (archaic) An exclamation of disapproval; boo.
- (slang, neologism) To flatten the tongue against the roof of the mouth for supposed health benefits.
- Alternative form of