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

  • n. One of the long, fixed, backed benches that are arranged in rows for the seating of a congregation in church.
  • n. An enclosed compartment in a church that provides seating for a number of people, such as a family.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One of the long benches in a church, seating several persons, usually fixed to the floor and facing the chancel.
  • n. An enclosed compartment in a church which provides seating for a group of people, often a prominent family.
  • v. To furnish with pews.
  • interj. An expression of disgust in response to an unpleasant odor.
  • interj. Representative of the sound made by the firing of a machine gun.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of the compartments in a church which are separated by low partitions, and have long seats upon which several persons may sit; -- sometimes called slip. Pews were originally made square, but are now usually long and narrow.
  • n. Any structure shaped like a church pew, as a stall, formerly used by money lenders, etc.; a box in theater; a pen; a sheepfold.
  • transitive v. To furnish with pews.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To furnish with pews.
  • See pue.
  • To put or shut in a pew.
  • n. A more or less elevated inclosure, used by lawyers, money-lenders, cashiers, etc.; an inclosed seat or bench of any sort, especially such as were used by persons having a stand for business in a public or otherwise open and exposed place.
  • n. An inclosed seat or open bench in a church, designed to accommodate several people; also, an inclosure containing several seats.
  • n. A box in a theater or opera-house.
  • n. plural The occupants of the pews in a church; the congregation.
  • n. A sharp-pointed, one-pronged, straight or hooked iron instrument with a wooden handle, used in handling fish, blubber, etc., on wharves or in boats.
  • n. A thin stream of air or smoke; a fine thin stream of breath escaping through lips almost closed.

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

  • n. long bench with backs; used in church by the congregation


Middle English pewe, probably from Old French puie, balcony, from Latin podia, pl. of podium, balcony; see podium.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English pewe, from Middle French puie ("balustrade"), from Latin podia, plural of podium ("parapet, podium"), from Ancient Greek πόδιον (podion, "little foot"), from πούς (pous, "foot"). (Wiktionary)
Possibly from French putois ("skunk") or puer ("to stink") or a truncation of putrid. (Wiktionary)
Onomatopoetic. (Wiktionary)



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