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 This could be a big step up season for Jones, or a step back. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "Ranking Baker Mayfield against Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and the best young quarterbacks in the NFL," 10 Sep. 2020 The Twins are still considering the next step for the righthander, sidelined since being hit by an Alex Gordon line drive in Kansas City on Aug. 21. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, "Twins are in a tight AL Central race ... but so what?," 5 Sep. 2020 The step, announced by the government this week, has long been an aim of women’s rights activists. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "Women are making more big political donations in 2020 than ever before. Here’s why," 4 Sep. 2020 The first step to preventing neck soreness and stiffness? Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "How to Avoid Tech Neck in the Age of Zoom," 4 Sep. 2020 The first step -- forecasting electricity demand -- used to be a straightforward matter of analyzing historical consumption patterns and current weather conditions. Mark Chediak, Bloomberg.com, "Covid Is Making It Harder for California to Avert Blackouts," 4 Sep. 2020 In order to make the most of your skillset and avoid causing harm, advocates agree that contacting your local coalition is your best first step (find yours here). Lauren Krouse, SELF, "How to Advocate for Victims and Survivors of Domestic Violence During Coronavirus," 2 Sep. 2020 That’s why nonhuman-primate studies are the last step, not the first, in the development process before human trials. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "America Is Facing a Monkey Shortage," 31 Aug. 2020 The next step: 60 days to conduct further investigation and draft formal charges. Andrew Boryga, sun-sentinel.com, "A bullying scandal rocks Delray, putting yet another city leader in turmoil," 29 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Davis will step into a post at the helm of Bon Appétit and related brands Epicurious, Healthyish and Basically, at a time of turmoil. Emily Heil, Washington Post, "Bon Appétit names book-publishing veteran Dawn Davis as top editor," 27 Aug. 2020 Out of the public view for much of the year, Mrs. Trump will step into the spotlight to argue for a second term for her husband — while trying to avoid the missteps that marred her introduction to the nation four years ago. Steve Peoples, Star Tribune, "GOP convention features Melania Trump: 'Tonight is the first lady's night'," 25 Aug. 2020 Out of the public view for much of the year, Mrs. Trump will step into the spotlight to argue for a second term for her husband — while trying to avoid the missteps that marred her introduction to the nation four years ago. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Melania Trump’s night: GOP convention stars first lady," 25 Aug. 2020 Out of the public view for much of the year, Mrs. Trump will step into the spotlight to argue for a second term for her husband — while trying to avoid the missteps that marred her introduction to the nation four years ago. Arkansas Online, "'The first lady's night': GOP features Melania Trump," 25 Aug. 2020 Conway’s husband George, a lawyer and Trump critic, will also step back from his role at The Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans dedicated to defeating Trump. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "Why it’s not a bad sign that companies aren’t talking about Black Lives Matter anymore," 24 Aug. 2020 Klacik, the Republican running to represent Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, will once again step onto a national stage this week. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "Kim Klacik to speak at Republican National Convention after viral campaign ad," 23 Aug. 2020 Weisz will step into Irons' dual role as the Mantle twins on the series, marking the Oscar winner's first regular TV role. Tyler Aquilina, EW.com, "Rachel Weisz (and Rachel Weisz) to star in TV adaptation of David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers," 18 Aug. 2020 Dumars, who has been with the Kings in an advisory role since 2019, will step into a larger role as interim executive vice president of basketball operations and lead the search for a new general manager. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Former Detroit Pistons GM Joe Dumars will temporarily run Sacramento Kings," 14 Aug. 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

19 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Step.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/step. Accessed 24 Sep. 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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