Word Confusion: Stow Away versus Stowaway

Posted September 7, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Aha, so this is the little stowaway who stowed away in this Word Confusion. Yep, it’s noun versus verbal phrase, so the captain may find a stowaway onboard, who may have stowed himself away in the cargo hold, but the cap’n will never find his sailors stowing away the cargo sloppily.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Stow Away Stowaway
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: stowaway

Luggage stowed away in the overhead compartment

“Stowaway Fella on the East Coast Mainline” by cowbite is under the CC BY-SA license, via VisualHunt.

Stow away your luggage in the overhead compartment.

Young boy looking through a window in the back of a delivery truck

“Trucking” by istolethetv is under the CC BY license, via VisualHunt

It’s a very young stowaway in the back of this truck.

Part of Grammar:
Phrasal Verb

Third person present verb: stows away
Past tense or past participle: stowed away
Gerund or present participle: stowing away

Plural for the noun: stowaways
Conceal oneself on a ship, aircraft, or other passenger vehicle in order to travel secretly or without paying the fare A person who hides aboard a ship or airplane in order to obtain free transportation or elude pursuers
She stowed the map away in the glove compartment.

George, can you stow these away in the attic?

He stowed away on a ship bound for South Africa.

You’d better stow away until the air clears.

Captain, we have a stowaway on board.

You know what we do to stowaways, don’t you?

I believe you have a stowaway aboard ship.

We caught this stowaway, sir.

History of the Word:
Late Middle English shortening of bestow. First recorded in 1850-55 as a noun use of the phrasal verb stow away.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Stowaway by Jellaluna is via VisualHunt while Man Loading the Shopping into the Trunk of His Car by Polycart is via Wikimedia Commons. Both are under the CC BY 2.0 license.