obsolete slang A house or apartment rented by a group of several female flight attendants (formerly known as stewardesses). A crude reference to the stereotype of such women being known for carefree or wild behavior in their personal lives. My grandmother was actually living in one of these stew zoos when she met my grandfather. She had to share it with four other women because it was the only way they could all afford to live in New York City.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
An apartment house in which many female flight attendants lived. Back in prepolitically correct days, female flight attendants were called “stewardesses” and had the reputation for being attractive and, even better to the male mind, “fun” (Frank Sinatra's hit ballad “Come Fly with Me” became something of an anthem). Stewardesses (or a many self-styled hip males called them “stewardii”) shared apartments, a rentsaving arrangement that appealed to their lifestyle because one or more was usually traveling. Apartment buildings in large cities, especially ones with easy access to airports, that attracted the young women were known as “stew zoos.”
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price