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 step- (audio) \ adjective
stepped \ ˈstept How to pronounce step- (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 Take this extra step with files such as tax documents or other files with sensitive info. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "5 new Windows 10 tricks you’ll wish you knew before now," 15 Apr. 2021 Repeat this step for additional pillowcases and for the top side of the flat sheet. Sonja Carmon, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Dress Up Plain Pillowcases with Inexpensive Ribbon Trim," 14 Apr. 2021 This step, on a measure that has been before Congress for more than 30 years, was propelled by last summer’s social justice protests, sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Why Utah Rep. Burgess Owens opposes reparations as the House takes a first step toward slavery compensation," 14 Apr. 2021 The federal government has not taken this step so far during the coronavirus pandemic. Noah Lenstra, The Conversation, "143,518 US public library workers are keeping their communities informed, connected and engaged – but their jobs may be at risk," 13 Apr. 2021 While officials described some progress, there remains a large gap over who should take the first step. Conor Finnegan, ABC News, "US, Iran recommit to indirect talks after sabotage attack on nuclear site," 13 Apr. 2021 But Tuesday, with an opportunity to take another positive step forward, Luzardo’s only steps were backward. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, "Two-game sweep for A's, fountain of youth for Jed Lowrie," 13 Apr. 2021 While sales professionals do all of this to qualify customers, presenters often skip this important step. Jerry Weissman, Forbes, "SPACs and IPOs," 9 Apr. 2021 If the university is wondering why to take such a step, the assembly’s resolution provides ample justification. Brendan Dodd, National Review, "It’s Time for Cornell University to Reconsider Its Ties to the Chinese Communist Party," 9 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, sat down with Winfrey and explained their decision to step back from senior roles in the British royal family and leveled criticism of the British press. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Prince Harry joins the Aspen Institute's fight against misinformation," 24 Mar. 2021 Coincidently, Kate wore the same chic coat last year during a visit to a London children's center in the days following the Sussexes' decision to step back from senior royal duties. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Keeps It Chic with a Camel Coat and Suede Mini Bag in East London," 18 Mar. 2021 During the interview with Winfrey, Prince Harry admitted that his relationship with his father had pretty much dissolved following his and Markle's decision to step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family in 2020. Natalie Morin, refinery29.com, "9 Days After That Blistering Interview, Prince Harry Has “Started Conversations” With His Brother & Father," 17 Mar. 2021 Some conservative writers expressed dismay over the musician’s decision to step away. al, "Winston Marshall of Mumford & Sons taking time away after praising right-wing writer," 11 Mar. 2021 Some conservative writers expressed dismay over the musician’s decision to step away. Los Angeles Times, "Mumford & Sons member takes ‘time away’ from band after praising Andy Ngo book," 10 Mar. 2021 Moore's decision to step away from the Southern Baptist Convention drew praise from other prominent Christian women who have broken with white evangelicalism. Ruth Graham And Elizabeth Dias New York Times, Star Tribune, "Leading evangelical splits with Southern Baptists over Trump," 10 Mar. 2021 When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their decision to step back from the royal family, The Sun plastered a portmanteau in their sensational headline: MEGXIT. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Meghan Markle and the Persistent Myth of the Manipulative Royal Wife," 9 Mar. 2021 That was during the negotiations over the couple’s decision to step back from their role as senior royals. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "What Meghan and Harry’s Oprah Interview Clarifies for Americans—and Maybe the British, Too," 8 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for step

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for step

Last Updated

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Step.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/step. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

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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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