Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A migratory gull (Larus canus) that breeds in northern Eurasia and northwest North America.
  • intransitive verb To make a high-pitched, crying sound, as that of a cat.
  • noun A high-pitching crying sound, especially that of a cat.
  • noun A cage for hawks, especially when molting.
  • noun A secret place; a hideaway.
  • noun A group of buildings originally containing private stables, often converted into residential apartments.
  • noun A small street, alley, or courtyard on which such buildings stand.
  • intransitive verb To confine in or as if in a cage.
  • intransitive verb To molt. Used of a hawk.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The herb spignel.
  • noun The cry of a cat.
  • To change (the covering or dress); especially, to shed, as feathers; molt.
  • An obsolete or dialectal preterit of mow.
  • noun A cage for birds while mewing or molting; hence, any cage or coop for birds, especially for hawks.
  • noun Hence An inclosure; a close place; a place of retirement or confinement.
  • noun A place where fowls were confined for fattening.
  • noun plural A stable. See mews.
  • noun A dialectal variant of mow.
  • To shut up; confine, as in a cage or other inclosure; immure.
  • noun A gull; a sea-mew. See cut under gull.
  • To cry as a cat.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To shut up; to inclose; to confine, as in a cage or other inclosure.
  • noun A cage for hawks while mewing; a coop for fattening fowls; hence, any inclosure; a place of confinement or shelter; -- in the latter sense usually in the plural.
  • noun A stable or range of stables for horses; -- compound used in the plural, and so called from the royal stables in London, built on the site of the king's mews for hawks.
  • noun The common cry of a cat.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A gull, esp. the common British species (Larus canus); called also sea mew, maa, mar, mow, and cobb.
  • transitive verb To shed or cast; to change; to molt.
  • intransitive verb To cast the feathers; to molt; hence, to change; to put on a new appearance.
  • intransitive verb To cry as a cat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete A prison, or other place of confinement.
  • noun obsolete A hiding-place; a secret store or den.
  • noun falconry A cage for hawks, especially while moulting.
  • noun falconry, in the plural A building or set of buildings where moulting birds are kept.
  • verb obsolete To shut away, confine, lock up.
  • verb of a bird To moult.
  • noun The crying sound of a cat; a meow.
  • verb of a cat To meow.
  • interjection A cat's cry.
  • noun obsolete A gull, seagull.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb utter a high-pitched cry, as of seagulls
  • verb cry like a cat
  • noun the sound made by a cat (or any sound resembling this)
  • noun the common gull of Eurasia and northeastern North America

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English meue, from Old English mǣw, mēu.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English meuen, of imitative origin.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English meue, from Old French mue, from muer, to molt, from Latin mūtāre, to change; see mei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman mue, muwe, and Middle French mue ("shedding feathers; cage for moulting birds; prison"), from muer ("to moult").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Onomatopoeic

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English mewe, from Old English mǣw, from Proto-Germanic *maihwaz, *maiwaz (“seagull”) (compare West Frisian meau, mieu, Dutch meeuw, German Möwe), from *maiwijanan 'to shout, mew' (compare Middle English mawen 'to shout, mew', Middle Dutch mauwen, Middle High German māwen); akin to Latvian maût 'to roar', Old Church Slavonic myjati 'to mew'.

Examples

  • September 26th, 2005 at 1: 39 am boo hoo baby its not our fault you are useless im in mew nealand and it works for me anyone can build a computer its a lot easier than configering your windows system one would think took me all of 30 sec

    WinMX returns: Grazie P2PZone!

  • The seagull is also known as the mew, likewise an imitative name.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XXIII No 3

  • [3] Beckett's French translation of Murphy gives the "mew" in West Brompton as "l'impasse de l'Enfant Jésus," introducing a Christian reference into the city grid.

    Beckett: Still Stirring

  • The critic Christopher Ricks has pointed out that "mew" rather than the more correct "mews" is in fact an archaic word for "cage."

    Beckett: Still Stirring

  • The cat goes around meekly, crying "mew," while the rest dance around her.

    Games For All Occasions

  • I again affirm that I need make no apology for attaching my name to that of one so worthy the esteem of his co-dogs, ay, and co-cats too; for in spite of the differences which have so often raised up a barrier between the members of his race and ours, not even the noblest among us could be degraded by raising a "mew" to the honour of such a thoroughly honest dog.

    The Adventures of a Dog, and a Good Dog Too

  • As a rule, the gelded cat does not "mew" to make known his wants, but employs his voice for conversational purposes.

    Concerning Cats My Own and Some Others

  • A starved kitten, which shapes out of nothing and is there complete and instantaneous at your feet -- ginger stripes, and a mew which is weak, but a veritable voice of the living -- is first

    Old Junk

  • It gave a frightened "mew," but a single shake cut that short and would have ended Kitty's nine lives at once, had not the negro come to the rescue.

    Animal Heroes

  • The next morning, figure my horror! to hear a plaintive 'mew' outside my door.

    Selections from the Letters of Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury to Jane Welsh Carlyle

Comments

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  • Also to confine, as in a cage or pen.

    March 19, 2008

  • High Summer. He heard through the open door

    a buzzard mew on an aloof thermal.

    - Peter Reading, Ménage à Trois, from The Prison Cell & Barrel Mystery, 1976

    June 23, 2008