\ ˈstēp How to pronounce steep (audio) \

Definition of steep

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : lofty, high used chiefly of a sea
2 : making a large angle with the plane of the horizon
3a : mounting or falling precipitously the stairs were very steep
b : being or characterized by a rapid and intensive decline or increase
4 : extremely or excessively high steep prices


noun (1)

Definition of steep (Entry 2 of 4)

: a precipitous place


steeped; steeping; steeps

Definition of steep (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to soak in a liquid at a temperature under the boiling point (as for softening, bleaching, or extracting an essence)
2 : to cover with or plunge into a liquid (as in bathing, rinsing, or soaking)
3 : to saturate with or subject thoroughly to (some strong or pervading influence) practices steeped in tradition

intransitive verb

: to undergo the process of soaking in a liquid


noun (2)

Definition of steep (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : the state or process of being steeped
2 : a bath or solution in which something is steeped

Other Words from steep


steepish \ ˈstē-​pish How to pronounce steep (audio) \ adjective
steeply adverb
steepness noun


steeper noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for steep

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for steep


steep, abrupt, precipitous, sheer mean having an incline approaching the perpendicular. steep implies such sharpness of pitch that ascent or descent is very difficult. a steep hill a steep dive abrupt implies a sharper pitch and a sudden break in the level. a beach with an abrupt drop-off precipitous applies to an incline approaching the vertical. the river winds through a precipitous gorge sheer suggests an unbroken perpendicular expanse. sheer cliffs that daunted the climbers


soak, saturate, drench, steep, impregnate mean to permeate or be permeated with a liquid. soak implies usually prolonged immersion as for softening or cleansing. soak the garment in soapy water saturate implies a resulting effect of complete absorption until no more liquid can be held. a saturated sponge drench implies a thorough wetting by something that pours down or is poured. clothes drenched by a cloudburst steep suggests either the extraction of an essence (as of tea leaves) by the liquid or the imparting of a quality (such as a color) to the thing immersed. steep the tea for five minutes impregnate implies a thorough interpenetration of one thing by another. a cake strongly impregnated with brandy

Examples of steep in a Sentence

Adjective The stairs are very steep. a steep drop in prices The store's prices are too steep for me. Their rates are pretty steep. Verb Steep the tea for three minutes. The tea steeped for five minutes. See More

First Known Use of steep


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (1)

1555, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for steep


Middle English stepe, from Old English stēap high, steep, deep; akin to Old Frisian stāp steep, Middle High German stief — more at stoop


Middle English stepen

Learn More About steep

Time Traveler for steep

Time Traveler

The first known use of steep was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near steep




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for steep

Cite this Entry

“Steep.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for steep


\ ˈstēp How to pronounce steep (audio) \
steeper; steepest

Kids Definition of steep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having a very sharp slope : almost straight up and down a steep hill
2 : too great or high steep prices

Other Words from steep

steeply adverb
steepness noun


steeped; steeping

Kids Definition of steep (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to soak in a hot liquid steep tea
2 : to fill with or involve deeply The lost mine was steeped in tragedy …— Jack London, The Call of the Wild

More from Merriam-Webster on steep

Nglish: Translation of steep for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of steep for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!