MEW. (i) An imitative word, also spelled miaou, representing the cry of a cat or of sea-birds. The name mew, usually sea-mew, as applied to the Larus canus, or common sea-gull, is, according to Skeat, also imitative. As the name of the sea-bird it appears in Du. meeuiv, Ger. Miiwe, and other languages. (2) (Through Fr. muer, from Lat. mutare, to change), a term originally applied in French to the moulting of a hawk or falcon, and then to the caging of the bird during that period; thus " to mew up " has come to mean to confine. The English word chiefly survives in the plural form mews, applied to a stable-yard, coach-houses, stalls for horses, and living accommodation, found in narrow streets in large towns. This use was due to the Royal Mews at Charing Cross, where the royal hawks were kept from 1377 to 1537, when the building became the royal stables.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)