"make a sound like a cat," early 14c., mewen, of imitative origin (compare German miauen, French miauler, Italian miagolare, Spanish maullar, and see meow). Sometimes also used of seagulls. Related: Mewed; mewing. As a noun from 1590s.
"seagull," Old English mæw, from Proto-Germanic *maigwis (source also of Old Saxon mew, Frisian meau, Middle Dutch and Middle Low German mewe, Dutch meeuw "gull"), imitative of its cry. Old French moue (Modern French mouette) and Lithuanian mėvas probably are Germanic loan-words.
"cage for birds; place where hawks are put to molt," late 14c., from Old French mue "cage for hawks," especially when molting, from muer "to molt," from Latin mutare "to change" (from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change"). In extended use, "a place of retirement or confinement" (early 15c.). Also as a verb, "to shut up, confine" (mid-15c.).
updated on January 08, 2019
Dictionary entries near mew