step

noun
\ ˈstep \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from step

Noun

steplike \ ˈstep-​ˌlīk \ adjective
stepped \ ˈstept \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To forgo the negligibly time-consuming step of selecting a new outfit every day, Mr. Mayer is willing to subject himself to snickers from his family and shivers down his arms. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "What’s Up With Men Who Don’t Wear Coats in Winter?," 8 Jan. 2019 By taking some careful steps to set the relationship up for success. Brett Martin, House Beautiful, "How To Form A Great Relationship With Your Contractor," 26 Dec. 2018 Here are some rules to follow to make sure your trip goes off without a hitch, every step of the way. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Rules For Flying to Follow So You Don't Get Kicked Off Your Flight," 19 Dec. 2018 Within a few months, the secretary had taken the unprecedented step of giving as many as 50 of the agency’s senior leaders 15 days notice to accept new roles or resign. Sarah Greenberger, Vox, "I worked in the Interior Department. Watching Zinke’s tenure was heartbreaking.," 21 Dec. 2018 The steps are simple: fill a disposable container with room temperature water, pour nail polish in the water, swirl the polish together, then dip your ornament in. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "All I Want For Christmas Are These DIY Marble Ornaments," 21 Dec. 2018 Get regular exercise and aim for 10,000 steps a day. Stacey Colino, Woman's Day, "If You Experienced Pregnancy Complications, Your Heart May Be at Risk," 4 Dec. 2018 This extra step will leave your company feeling very well taken care of (and very luxurious, too). ELLE Decor, "This Holiday Party Is Anything But Traditional—And We're Obsessed," 30 Nov. 2018 But the judge pointed to clear evidence Anglin knew exactly what readers would do with the information and egged them on at every step. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Judge rejects neo-Nazi’s First Amendment argument in harassment case," 15 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Many national parks are open to visitors, but workers have stopped providing visitor services, including trash collection, campground operations and road maintenance—unless a donor, such as a state or city—has stepped forward to pay for operations. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "What Is and Isn’t Affected by the Partial Government Shutdown," 1 Jan. 2019 The Rise of the Skin-Care Diet About three years ago, dermatologists in Korea began advising people experiencing sensitivity and redness to step back from their extensive routines and cut down to the basics, according to Yoo. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Why Koreans Are Ditching Their Famous 10-Step Routines for the Skin-Care Diet," 29 Sep. 2018 Beast’) the Queen stepped forward and shook his hand. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Royal Photographer Chris Jackson Takes Us Behind the Scenes of Trump's Meeting with Queen Elizabeth," 13 July 2018 At that point the officer told the cousin to step back. CBS News, "Woman harassed over Puerto Rican flag shirt says officer "blatantly ignored" her pleas for help," 13 July 2018 Yet, If the rest of the rotation stepped forward, Darvish wouldn’t be such a huge worry. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "The Cubs aren't getting Manny Machado - and they're not worried if the Brewers do," 10 July 2018 Nearly 3,500 fire personnel from 73 crews had stepped forward to attempt to contain the County Fire, which began Saturday in Guinda. Claire Morgan, sacbee, "County Fire grows to 88,000 acres, Cal Fire warns of warm weather to come," 5 July 2018 Edgewood has had a policy in place for five years that allowed armed staff members but to date volunteers haven’t stepped forward. Sue Kiesewetter, Cincinnati.com, "Hamilton Schools staff can be armed," 29 June 2018 So Janus, the state employee from Springfield, stepped forward as a plaintiff. David G. Savage, latimes.com, "Supreme Court deals sharp defeat to public employee unions, banning mandatory fees," 27 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about step

Statistics for step

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for step

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up step? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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