side·​step | \ ˈsīd-ˌstep How to pronounce sidestep (audio) \
sidestepped; sidestepping; sidesteps

Definition of sidestep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : bypass, evade sidestep a question
2 : to move out of the way of : avoid sidestep a blow

intransitive verb

1 : to take a side step
2 : to avoid an issue or decision

side step


Definition of side step (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a step aside (as in boxing to avoid a blow)
2 : a step taken sideways (as when climbing on skis)

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Other Words from sidestep


sidestepper noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for sidestep

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of sidestep in a Sentence

Verb She sidestepped the reporter's question. They're sidestepping the real issue.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On its website, Wendy’s sidestepped the topic by steering customers to its OG Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Jim Weiker,, "Where’s the beef? Because of shortage, not at some Wendy’s restaurants," 6 May 2020 Asset Shuffle The company managed to sidestep default once before in 2017, with a financial overhaul that included shuffling assets in a way that moved fast-growing Madewell out of reach of creditors. Fortune, "J. Crew files for bankruptcy as pandemic crushes struggling sales," 4 May 2020 Sunovion isn’t the only company looking to sidestep D2 receptors in treating schizophrenia. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "Experimental schizophrenia drug could reduce long-neglected symptoms," 15 Apr. 2020 In order to access regular pricing — and sidestep the membership fee — shoppers must know to delete it from their carts. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Rihanna's lingerie company accused of deceptive advertising," 11 Feb. 2020 Just as in Fallout, there are usually options for how to sidestep the needs of one group in favor of another, but those options generally involve aligning with an equally needy faction with its own laundry list of busywork., "The Outer Worlds is a great RPG if you ignore its characters," 22 Oct. 2019 But sidestepping them in real life has an ick factor akin to encountering a used condom or hypodermic needle. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Coronavirus disposable gloves are trashing us. Don’t make us all pick up after you," 23 Apr. 2020 Stopping the spread of COVID-19 through stay-at-home orders and the closure of nonessential businesses or sidestepping the economic stress and financial hardship those decisions have caused. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Democratic election chances rest on cratering economy," 17 Apr. 2020 And the questionnaire asked about a very limited set of adverse childhood experiences tied to childhood neglect and household dysfunction, sidestepping problems like discrimination and poverty. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "“As important as finding the cure to cancer”: Behind the effort to end childhood toxic stress," 21 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In recent weeks, the fighting has intensified as foreign backers of the two sides stepped up their military support., "Bombs Kill 7 at Refugee Shelter in Libya," 15 May 2020 Separately, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge floated the idea of issuing a compulsory license, which would permit the government to side step any Roche patents and arrange for alternate production. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Roche backpedals and agrees to provide a solution for Covid-19 tests in the Netherlands," 27 Mar. 2020 Rogers pump fakes and side steps (travels didn't exist back then either, apparently). Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "That time Kenny Rogers faked out Michael Jordan during a celebrity pickup game in 1988," 21 Mar. 2020 The 19-year-old scored his 40th goal of the season in Borussia Dortmund's 2-0 win at Werder Bremen Saturday as Lucien Favre's side stepped up its pursuit of leader Bayern Munich. Paul Gittings, CNN, "Magical Messi gets four in Barcelona's Camp Nou rout of Eibar," 22 Feb. 2020 The actress and activist was handcuffed on the east side steps and escorted into a police vehicle., "Before her arrest, Fonda in a speech called climate change ‘‘a collective crisis that demands collective action now.’’ ASSOCIATED PRESS," 12 Oct. 2019 The attack was a reprisal for the American assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, and its limited nature helped both sides step back from further escalation, for now. David Meyer, Fortune, "Tough jobs, health-care futures and sustainability promises," 17 Jan. 2020 The actress and activist was handcuffed on the east side steps and escorted into a police vehicle., "Before her arrest, Fonda in a speech called climate change ‘‘a collective crisis that demands collective action now.’’ ASSOCIATED PRESS," 12 Oct. 2019 In Basso’s class, the mostly over-60 students move fluidly and confidently through side steps, lunges, and sweeping arm motions. The Editors, Outside Online, "How to Chill Out and Relax Already," 1 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sidestep.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sidestep


1860, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


circa 1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for sidestep

Time Traveler

The first known use of sidestep was circa 1656

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Statistics for sidestep

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sidestep.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for sidestep


How to pronounce side step (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sidestep

: to avoid walking into or being hit by (someone or something) by stepping to the right or left
: to avoid answering or dealing with (something) directly


side·​step | \ ˈsīd-ˌstep How to pronounce sidestep (audio) \
sidestepped; sidestepping

Kids Definition of sidestep

1 : to take a sideways step … she sidestepped in front of him, blocking his path.— Carl Hiaasen, Hoot
2 : to avoid by a step to the side He sidestepped the punch.
3 : to avoid answering or dealing with She sidestepped the question.

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