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

But during a walkabout at Saint Thomas Church in Leipzig yesterday (May 8), The Sun photographer Arthur Edwards stopped Duchess Camilla to share photos of her new step-grandson that were just released to the world. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Duchess Camilla's Reaction to the First Pictures of Baby Sussex Is So Sweet," 9 May 2019 Even Prince Harry himself first met his public on the hospital steps. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Pose for First Photos of the Royal Baby," 8 May 2019 Take a big step to the right side with your right foot, and immediately bend right knee to sink into a lateral lunge, sending your butt back, and keeping your left leg perfectly straight. SELF, "Core and Upper Body Strength Push," 28 Apr. 2019 All of this requires an understanding of each step of the process and how to adjust accordingly if one factor isn’t optimal. Annemarie Conte, Woman's Day, "What We Learned After Baking Nothing But Bread for 3 Days," 9 Apr. 2019 Easy steps like Ella, Sara, and I carpooling removed two cars off the road—cars that would have driven 183 miles one way. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Getting around the Bay Area with Chanell Fletcher," 21 Dec. 2018 These two books are the first steps into a vivid, exciting world, and fortunately, there’s more to come. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Our favorite science fiction and fantasy books of 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 New England is one of the regions hardest hit by the crisis, which makes Vermont’s steps and successes all the more relevant. German Lopez, Vox, "A Vermont needle exchange isn’t just giving out syringes. It’s offering treatment on the spot.," 20 Nov. 2018 Making the first steps towards getting treatment is often the most difficult part of the process. Stephanie Dubick, SELF, "How to Show Up for Someone You Love With Body Dysmorphic Disorder," 16 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When Virginia guard Kyle Guy stepped to the foul line with 0.6 second left, an NCAA tournament’s worth of insanity had taken place in the prior five minutes alone. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Virginia Advances in NCAA Final Four to National Championship Game," 6 Apr. 2019 Yep, for tonight's Emmy Awards, the Riverdale star stepped onto the red carpet decked in her Frozen best. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Riverdale's Madelaine Petsch Dressed Like Princess Anna From Frozen at the Emmys," 17 Sep. 2018 Prior to joining Oak Hills, Hemmelgarn stepped away and tried a new career in the business world, only to realize that his true passion was high school athletics. Adam Baum, Cincinnati.com, "Oak Hills, Turpin high schools name new athletic directors," 12 July 2018 In stepped Jesus Aguilar, one of baseball’s hottest hitters who also hit a homer earlier in the game. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "A Closer Look: Miami Marlins 4, Milwaukee Brewers 3 (10 innings)," 10 July 2018 Dandridge, who averaged 18.8 points per game in his first eight seasons with the Bucks stepped it up in his first season with the Bullets, scoring 19.3 points and averaging 5.9 boards and 3.8 assists a game. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "NBA superteams haven't won all the championships: 5 surprise winners," 9 July 2018 When Knebel was out, several relievers stepped forward to fill the breech. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Haudricourt: Brewers' depth has been huge in overcoming series of injuries this season," 6 July 2018 The parade stepped off at Benton and River streets and proceeded throughout the downtown, ending at River Street. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora celebrates America's birthday with downtown parade," 4 July 2018 There are still some others that claimed to do things like fasten their bras and then put them on like t-shirts (WUT?!) or even step into their bras and pull them up over their hips like a dress (WHO?!). Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Don't Panic, But You've Been Wearing Your Bra Wrong Your Entire Life," 25 Apr. 2019

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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Learn More about step

Statistics for step

Last Updated

19 May 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

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