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 The first step was winning all of the games they were supposed to. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ranking Ohio State football’s 2020 opponents: Why Michigan, Oregon and Penn State stand out," 21 Feb. 2020 Choosing the right plan The first step to selecting the right plan is understanding your needs. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "Best internet deals to save money and maximize speed," 20 Feb. 2020 This step is where many theorists expect hierarchical accretion to temporarily break down, because meter-scale boulders knocking together at orbital speeds are more likely to shatter back to gravel than to get larger. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "New Horizons May Have Solved Planet Formation Cold Case," 20 Feb. 2020 The step is a significant one for the school, which is in University Park, one of the poorest areas of South Los Angeles, according to an LA Times database. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "USC is waiving tuition for students whose families make less than $80,000," 20 Feb. 2020 The next step is preparing a report to present to the board, and members will vote on the adoption of the route changes. Kellie Hwang, Indianapolis Star, "'It is really crippling us': IndyGo bus riders concerned about upcoming route changes," 19 Feb. 2020 The bill’s next step is to be assigned to a committee, where it will be considered, according to Scott’s spokeswoman. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "We Showed How Easy It Is to Commit Health Care Fraud. Now Senators Want to Close the Loophole.," 14 Feb. 2020 The first step is calling out inequalities—relentlessly—to change things for this generation and the next. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "Serena Williams and Secret Are Launching a Study on Gender Inequality in Sports," 11 Feb. 2020 The next step should be a similar endeavor by the Europeans themselves. Elisabeth Braw, WSJ, "Trump’s America Is Committed to Europe," 10 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To step off the trail and find his way through the underbrush. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "For Cavs coach John Beilein, failure would have been not taking the leap to the NBA," 18 Feb. 2020 Wallis has some players to work with and will face the gargantuan task of finding one to step into Fine's shoes. Brett Vito, Denton Record-Chronicle, "North Texas quarterback outlook for 2020: How do the Mean Green replace Mason Fine?," 18 Feb. 2020 An interior offensive lineman, the junior has a chance to step into one of the spots vacated by Hunter Littlejohn and Simon Stepaniak. Jon Blau, Indianapolis Star, "IU football: How midyear enrollees are adjusting to Hoosiers," 17 Feb. 2020 In 2000, courts stepped into the most political of all processes: voting. Sarah Burns, The Conversation, "‘Stolen’ elections open wounds that may never heal," 11 Feb. 2020 More than a decade later, after the Republican defeat in 2008, Limbaugh once again stepped into the breach. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "The Era of Limbaugh," 8 Feb. 2020 To step even more into the fashion industry Rudy launched a children’s line late last year and has circled back with a merch line for adults titled rg22. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Spurs Player Rudy Gay Enters The Fashion World With A Fresh New Collection," 21 Jan. 2020 Before Theresa May’s infamous visit to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya in 2018, the last time a UK prime minister had stepped foot on the continent was 2013. Hannah Ryder, Quartz Africa, "What the UK can learn from China about running an Africa Summit," 19 Jan. 2020 Per BuzzFeed News, the Duke and Duchess plan to step back from all Royal duties, and will no longer receive public funding designated for those aforementioned duties, including official military appointments. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Give Up Royal Titles, Per Agreement With Queen Elizabeth," 18 Jan. 2020

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

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Step.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/step. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for step

step

noun
How to pronounce step- (audio)

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
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for step

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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