Definition of strew in English:

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Pronunciation: /stro͞o/

verb (past participle strewn /stro͞on/ or strewed)

[with object] (usually be strewn)
1Scatter or spread (things) untidily over a surface or area: a small room with newspapers strewn all over the floor
More example sentences
  • Damage was caused to the fence and chain, the crosses by the memorial were flattened and litter was strewn around the area.
  • There are more and more scratches to the paintwork and plants from an adjoining flower bed, along with litter, have been strewn over the seats and surrounding area.
  • At others, downed trees littered parent pickup areas and limbs were strewn across student bike racks.
scatter, spread, disperse, litter, toss
literary bestrew
1.1 (usually be strewn with) Cover (a surface or area) with untidily scattered things: the table was strewn with books and papers [as adjective, in combination]: (strewn) boulder-strewn slopes
More example sentences
  • The area is now strewn with broken bottles and rubbish and the playground equipment is covered in graffiti.
  • It took her a couple of minutes of fumbling around on her bedside table that was strewn with books to find the small mobile phone.
  • Since it closed, youngsters have covered the building with graffiti, and the site is strewn with litter.
1.2Be scattered or spread untidily over (a surface or area): leaves strewed the path
More example sentences
  • At 6 am one day this summer, a tangle of garments and half-eaten plates of food, which volunteers had doled out the night before, strewed an entire sidewalk block.
  • Litter strewed the hallway; books and candles lay burnt and melted around the floor.
  • Litter strewed the street.



Example sentences
  • Further research has identified the flower strewer as a Newry man.
  • In the seventeenth century, herb strewers were employed by the English Royal Family to scatter sage and lavender to cover the stench of urban life.
  • This combination of products and grass seeding was brought out by means of rotary strewer.


Old English stre(o)wian, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch strooien, German streuen, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin sternere 'lay flat'.

  • straw from Old English:

    An Old English word related to strew that shares an ancient ancestor with Latin sternere ‘to lay flat’. Straws crop up in various common English expressions. The person who ends up being chosen to perform an unpleasant task can be said to draw the short straw, from drawing lots by holding several straws of varying lengths with one end concealed in your hand and then inviting people to take one each. A person in danger of drowning would try to grab hold of anything to keep afloat, the source of the old proverb a drowning man will clutch at a straw, recorded in various forms since the mid 16th century. Nowadays, you are more likely to come across the abbreviated version to clutch (or grasp) at straws. Another old proverb provides the last (or final) straw, referring to a final minor difficulty or annoyance that, coming on top of a whole series of others, makes a situation unbearable. The full version is it is the last straw that breaks the camel's back. Earlier variations included the last feather breaks the horse's back, which dates back to the mid 17th century. No one is really sure what strawberries have got to do with straw. One possible explanation is that a strawberry's runners reminded people of straw strewn on floors. Or perhaps the name of the fruit refers to the small seeds scattered over its surface, which resemble tiny pieces of straw or chaff.

Words that rhyme with strew

accrue, adieu, ado, anew, Anjou, aperçu, askew, ballyhoo, bamboo, bedew, bestrew, billet-doux, blew, blue, boo, boohoo, brew, buckaroo, canoe, chew, clew, clou, clue, cock-a-doodle-doo, cockatoo, construe, coo, Corfu, coup, crew, Crewe, cru, cue, déjà vu, derring-do, dew, didgeridoo, do, drew, due, endue, ensue, eschew, feu, few, flew, flu, flue, foreknew, glue, gnu, goo, grew, halloo, hereto, hew, Hindu, hitherto, how-do-you-do, hue, Hugh, hullabaloo, imbrue, imbue, jackaroo, Jew, kangaroo, Karroo, Kathmandu, kazoo, Kiangsu, knew, Kru, K2, kung fu, Lahu, Lanzhou, Lao-tzu, lasso, lieu, loo, Lou, Manchu, mangetout, mew, misconstrue, miscue, moo, moue, mu, nardoo, new, non-U, nu, ooh, outdo, outflew, outgrew, peekaboo, Peru, pew, plew, Poitou, pooh, pooh-pooh, potoroo, pursue, queue, revue, roo, roux, rue, Selous, set-to, shampoo, shih-tzu, shoe, shoo, shrew, Sioux, skean dhu, skew, skidoo, slew, smew, snafu, sou, spew, sprue, stew, subdue, sue, switcheroo, taboo, tattoo, thereto, thew, threw, thro, through, thru, tickety-boo, Timbuktu, tiramisu, to, to-do, too, toodle-oo, true, true-blue, tu-whit tu-whoo, two, vendue, view, vindaloo, virtu, wahoo, wallaroo, Waterloo, well-to-do, whereto, whew, who, withdrew, woo, Wu, yew, you, zoo

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: strew

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