From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Stow, stów, and -stow



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English stowe, from Old English stōw (place, location), from Proto-West Germanic *stōwu, from Proto-Germanic *stōwō (a place, stowage), from Proto-Indo-European *steh₂- (to stand, place, put). Cognate with Old Frisian stō (place), Icelandic stó (fireplace), Dutch stouw (place). See also -stow.


stow (plural stows)

  1. (rare) A place, stead.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English stowen, stawen, stewen, from Old English stōwian (to hold back, restrain), from Proto-Germanic *stōwōną, *stōwijaną (to stow, dam up), from Proto-Indo-European *steh₂- (to stand, place). Cognate with Dutch stuwen, stouwen (to stow), Low German stauen (to blin, halt, hinder), German stauen (to halt, hem in, stow, pack).


stow (third-person singular simple present stows, present participle stowing, simple past and past participle stowed) (transitive)

  1. To put something away in a compact and tidy manner, in its proper place, or in a suitable place.
  2. To store or pack something in a space-saving manner and over a long time.
    • 1922, James A. Cooper, Sheila of Big Wreck Cove:
      Yet everybody knows that a cargo properly stowed in a seaworthy craft reaches market in much the better condition than by rail, though perhaps it is some hours longer on the way.
  3. To arrange, pack, or fill something tightly or closely.
  4. To dispose of, lodge, or hide somebody somewhere.
  5. (obsolete, slang, transitive) To cease; to stop doing something.
    • Bet the Coaley's Daughter (traditional song)
      But when I strove my flame to tell, / Says she, 'Come, stow that patter, / If you're a cove wot likes a gal, / Vy don't you stand some gatter?' / In course I instantly complied— / Two brimming quarts of porter, / With sev'ral goes of gin beside, / Drain'd Bet the Coaley's daughter.
Derived terms[edit]



  1. (obsolete) A cry used by falconers to call their birds back down to hand.
    • c. 1503–1512, John Skelton, Ware the Hauke; republished in John Scattergood, editor, John Skelton: The Complete English Poems, 1983, →OCLC, page 63, lines 66, 69–74:
      His seconde hawke wexyd gery []
      on the rode loft
      She perkyd her to rest.
      The fauconer then was prest,
      Came runnynge with a dow,
      And cryed, ‘Stow, stow, stow!’
      But she wold not bow.


Old English[edit]


From Proto-West Germanic *stōwu, from Proto-Germanic *stōwō (a place, location, position), from Proto-Indo-European *steh₂- (to stand, place, put).



stōw f

  1. a place
    Ne sċoldest þū gān tō swā frēcenre stōwe.
    You shouldn't have gone to such a dangerous place.
  2. a place on the body
  3. a place that is built; house, collection of houses, habitation, dwelling
  4. a place, position, or spot in a series
  5. a room, stead
  6. a place or passage in a book



  • Middle English: stowe, stow




  1. (transitive) To cut off; to crop.