step down

stepped down; stepping down; steps down

Definition of step down

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to withdraw from one's position or occupation : retire, resign League commissioner Pete Rozelle … announced his intention to step down after 29 years on the job—his retirement becomes effective upon selection of a successor …— Richard Demak and Jerry Kirshenbaum … the general would step down in exchange for immunity from prosecution.— Brian Duffy et al.

transitive verb

1 : to lower (a voltage) by means of a transformer … voltages as high as two hundred and thirty thousand volts … which were carried by high-voltage power lines from generating plants, were being stepped down by large transformers to thirteen thousand volts …— Paul Brodeur
2 : to decrease or reduce (something) especially by one or more steps As This Old House's plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey points out, the installer has to carefully step down the size of the ducts so there's even air pressure at all the room outlets.— Scott Gibson


\ ˈstep-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce step-down (audio) \
variants: or step down or less commonly stepdown
plural step-downs or step downs also stepdowns

Definition of step-down (Entry 2 of 3)

: a decrease or reduction (as in size or amount) and especially one that is gradual or incremental a dosage step-down After several months of heavy investments, Amazon said it expects coronavirus-related costs to decelerate. … [Amazon CFO Brian] Olsavsky attributed the step down in Covid costs to a shift in volume.— Annie Palmer That tax credit was scheduled to expire in 2019 but will now expire in 2025, with stepdowns toward the end of the program.Alaska Dispatch News



Definition of step-down (Entry 3 of 3)

1 electrical engineering : serving to decrease voltage a step-down transformer
2 medical : providing or offering a reduced level of care or service step-down drug rehab programs specifically : providing an intermediate level of care and monitoring especially for patients transitioning out of intensive care a cardiac step-down unit … a portable, mechanical driver that can power patients' artificial hearts and enable them to recover outside the hospital environment, including at home and at step-down facilities. — Anne Buckley

Examples of step down in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Joshi will replace David Mathers who decided to step down after more than 11 years in his role as previously communicated. Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 22 Aug. 2022 The Wisconsin Republican had pledged to step down after two terms, only to reverse himself this year. Brian Slodysko,, 10 Aug. 2022 Johnson finally agreed to step down after one of his closest allies, Treasury Chief Nadhim Zahawi, told the prime minister to resign for the good of the country. Danica Kirka, Orlando Sentinel, 7 July 2022 BNY Mellon in March named former Goldman executive Robin Vince as its next chief executive officer, succeeding Todd Gibbons, who plans to step down on Aug. 31 after about three years in the role. Kristin Broughton, WSJ, 6 July 2022 Barkindo, 63, was due to step down at the end of this month after six years in the top job at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Reuters, CNN, 6 July 2022 Brunette took over early last season following the resignation of Joel Quenneville, who had to step down after the revelation of how the Chicago Blackhawks mishandled abuse allegations brought by a player during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. Tim Reynolds, Sun Sentinel, 22 June 2022 Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook parent company Meta, plans to step down from her role after 14 years. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, 1 June 2022 The chancellor resigned amid a public outcry, and state lawmakers have called on Sonoma State University’s president to step down after a faculty no-confidence vote in her leadership. Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of step down


1875, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1905, in the meaning defined above


1881, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About step down

Time Traveler for step down

Time Traveler

The first known use of step down was in 1875

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near step down


step down


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for step down

Last Updated

27 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Step down.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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

More Definitions for step down


\ ˈstep-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce step-down (audio) \

Medical Definition of step-down

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: providing or offering a reduced level of care or service step-down drug rehab programs specifically : providing an intermediate level of care and monitoring especially for patients transitioning out of intensive care Our group practice rotates us in 3-week stints through various critical and step-down units. The Journal of the American Medical Association


variants: or step down

Medical Definition of step-down (Entry 2 of 2)

: a decrease or reduction in size or amount a dosage step-down

More from Merriam-Webster on step down

Nglish: Translation of step down for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of step down for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!