step

noun
\ ˈstep How to pronounce step (audio) \

Definition of step

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a rest for the foot in ascending or descending: such as
a : one of a series of structures consisting of a riser and a tread
b : a ladder rung
2a(1) : an advance or movement made by raising the foot and bringing it down elsewhere
(2) : a combination of foot or foot and body movements constituting a unit or a repeated pattern a dance step
(3) : manner of walking : stride
c : the sound of a footstep
3a : the space passed over in one step
b : a short distance
c : the height of one stair
4 steps plural : course, way directed his steps toward the river
5a : a degree, grade, or rank in a scale
b : a stage in a process was guided through every step of my career
6 : a frame on a ship designed to receive an upright shaft especially : a block supporting the heel of a mast
7 : an action, proceeding, or measure often occurring as one in a series taking steps to improve the situation
8 : a steplike offset or part usually occurring in a series
9 : the interval between two adjacent notes in a musical scale
11 : a slight lead in or as if in a race has a step on the competition
in step
1 : with each foot moving to the same time as the corresponding foot of others or in time to music
2 : in harmony or agreement
out of step
: not in step out of step with the times

step

verb
stepped; stepping

Definition of step (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to move by raising the foot and bringing it down elsewhere or by moving each foot in succession
b : dance
2a : to go on foot : walk
b obsolete : advance, proceed
c : to be on one's way : leave often used with along
d : to move briskly kept us stepping
3 : to press down with the foot step on the brake
4 : to come as if at a single step stepped into a good job

transitive verb

1 : to take by moving the feet in succession step three paces
2a : to move (the foot) in any direction : set the first man to step foot on the moon
b : to traverse on foot
3 : to go through the steps of : perform step a minuet
4 : to make erect by fixing the lower end in a step step the mast
5 : to measure by steps step off 50 yards
6a : to provide with steps
b : to make steps in step a key
7 : to construct or arrange in or as if in steps craggy peaks with terraces stepped up the sidesTime
step on it
: to increase one's speed : hurry up

Definition of step- (Entry 3 of 3)

: related by virtue of a remarriage (as of a parent) and not by blood stepparent stepsister

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Other Words from step

Noun

steplike \ ˈstep-​ˌlīk How to pronounce steplike (audio) \ adjective
stepped \ ˈstept How to pronounce stepped (audio) \ adjective

Examples of step in a Sentence

Noun

She took one step forward. The baby took her first steps today. I heard steps on the stairs. The edge of the cliff was only about three steps to my left. The cottage is just steps from the beach. He walks with a spring in his step. She walked down the hall with a quick step. a major step towards independence We are taking steps to correct the situation.

Verb

She stepped onto the bus. They stepped aside to let her pass. Please step away from the door. He stepped outside for a moment. Step in my office for a minute.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While a multiple-step skin care routine isn’t for everyone, the seemingly never ending dry and bitter temperature calls for reinforcements. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The Cure-All Ingredient Missing From Your Skincare Routine," 19 Feb. 2019 In the alternative, save this step for later, before the next use (or before your next dinner party). Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "Everything You Need to Know About Caring for Tabletop Accessories," 11 Feb. 2019 This method also works on plastic shower curtains and liners, just skip the first step and wash in warm water using the gentle cycle. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of Mold and Mildew in the Mustiest Corners of Your House," 6 Feb. 2019 The league has also made some steps to make the game a bit safer. Brian Resnick, Vox, "What a lifetime of playing football can do to the human brain," 4 Feb. 2019 Her penultimate step is a universal skincare need: lip balm. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch Alessia Cara's Nighttime Skincare Routine," 4 Dec. 2018 And in 2016, Congress passed an updated chemical safety law—the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)—that orders federal regulators to take steps to reduce the number of animals that companies use to test compounds for safety. Vanessa Zainzinger, Science | AAAS, "New digital chemical screening tool could help eliminate animal testing," 11 July 2018 The Federal Reserve, along with four other regulators, took steps Wednesday to ease several parts of the Volcker Rule, which was put in place to prevent banks from making risky bets with depositors' money. Author: Emily Flitter, Alan Rappeport, Anchorage Daily News, "Big banks will get a reprieve from a key crisis-era rule that would let them engage in riskier trading," 30 May 2018 Burbank is one step closer to building a bikeway infrastructure that could connect the city to the San Fernando Valley and downtown Los Angeles. Anthony Clark Carpio, Burbank Leader, "Burbank moves forward with its bikeway project," 24 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Papa John is stepping away from Papa John’s International Inc. John Schnatter, the controversial founder of the world’s third-largest pizza delivery chain, agreed to leave the company’s board in exchange for having a say in naming his replacement. Julie Jargon, WSJ, "Papa John’s Founder John Schnatter to Leave Board," 5 Mar. 2019 Original post: Jennifer Lawrence has stepped away from high-profile relationships. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Who Is Jennifer Lawrence's Fiancé Cooke Maroney? He's an Art Dealer," 6 Feb. 2019 SoundMagic is one of the best headphone brands to go to when stepping away from the earbuds that came bundled with your phone, and now the company is adding a USB-C model to its lineup. Jon Porter, The Verge, "SoundMagic adds USB-C to its budget earbuds," 20 Dec. 2018 Aside from wanting to clean our dishes effectively, there are also environmental reports that might further convince you to put down your sponges and step away from the sink. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "The Number One Reason Not To Pre-Rinse Your Dirty Dishes," 18 Dec. 2018 And so the totems were born of the group’s desire to step away from the paper-swatch paint store paradigm. Asad Syrkett, Curbed, "Can Farrow & Ball’s new LA showroom change what people think of paint stores?," 30 Nov. 2018 The two step away giving Joanna some time to lead her visuals team and set up on the installation. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Here's How Chip and Joanna Gaines Split Baby Duties for 4-Month-Old Crew," 17 Nov. 2018 Having to consciously make time to run also allowed me to step away a few hours at a time from a routine of new experiences and obligations. Leta Shy, SELF, "Training for a Marathon After Having a Baby Wasn't Fun, But It Helped Me Feel Like Myself Again," 2 Nov. 2018 Cole went to college to step away from the spotlight after years on the Disney Channel. Hannah Orenstein, Seventeen, "20 Things You Didn't Know About Cole Sprouse," 25 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'step.' 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 step

Noun

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for step

Noun

Middle English, from Old English stæpe; akin to Old High German stapfo step, stampfōn to stamp

Combining form

Middle English, from Old English stēop-; akin to Old High German stiof- step-, Old English astēpan to deprive, bereave

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Statistics for step

Last Updated

24 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for step

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

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More Definitions for step

step

noun

English Language Learners Definition of step

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a movement made by lifting your foot and putting it down in a different place
: the sound of a foot making a step
: the distance covered in one step also : a short distance

step

verb

English Language Learners Definition of step (Entry 2 of 3)

: to move in a specified direction by lifting your foot and putting it down in a different place : to move somewhere by walking
: to put your foot down

English Language Learners Definition of step- (Entry 3 of 3)

used to describe family relationships that are created when a person who already has a child marries someone who is not the child's parent

step

noun
\ ˈstep How to pronounce step (audio) \

Kids Definition of step

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a movement made by lifting one foot and putting it down in another spot
2 : a rest or place for the foot in going up or down : stair
3 : a combination of foot and body movements in a repeated pattern a dance step
4 : manner of walking a lively step
5 : footprint
6 : the sound of a footstep I heard steps in the hall.
7 : the space passed over in one step The garden was a few steps away.
8 : a short distance The house is only a step away.
9 : the height of one stair
10 steps plural : course entry 1 sense 2 We directed our steps toward home.
11 : one of a series of actions taken to achieve something They took steps to correct the situation.
12 : a stage in a process What's the first step in assembling the toy?
13 : a level, grade, or rank in a scale or series His work was a step above average.
14 : the distance from one tone of a musical scale or one note on a musical staff to another that is one tone away ( half step ) or two tones away ( whole step )

step

verb
stepped; stepping

Kids Definition of step (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to move in a particular way or direction by lifting one foot and putting it down in another spot They stepped aside to let me pass.
2 : dance entry 1 sense 1 The couple stepped gracefully together.
3 : to go on foot : walk He stepped slowly along the path.
4 : to move quickly They were really stepping along.
5 : to put or press the foot on or in I stepped on glass. Don't step in the puddle.
6 : to come or move as if at a step by the foot I stepped into a good job.
7 : to measure by steps Step off ten yards.
step up
: to increase the amount, speed, or intensity of The factory stepped up production.

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More from Merriam-Webster on step

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with step

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for step

Spanish Central: Translation of step

Nglish: Translation of step for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of step for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about step

Comments on step

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