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

Kughn is survived by children Suzanne Kloster, Gary Kughn and Jennifer Munter; stepchildren Cindy Monroe and Kimberly McGlynn; nine grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and four step-grandchildren. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "Richard P. Kughn, former Lionel toy train co. owner, dies at 89," 13 June 2019 Taken together, the efforts represent the city’s first concrete steps to address a lending crisis that has led to financial ruin for drivers. Brian M. Rosenthal, New York Times, "Facing Ruin, Taxi Drivers to Get $10 Million Break and Loan Safeguards," 12 June 2019 Carlsbad has taken similar steps along Carlsbad Boulevard which, like Coast Highway in Oceanside, is old Highway 101 with a different name. (charlie Neuman), San Diego Union-Tribune, "Roundabouts, crosswalks get inital OK for downtown Oceanside," 12 June 2019 Celebrity facialist Joanna Czech is also a fan of the extra icy step—particularly when masking. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Kate Moss’s Secret Facial Remedy Is Already in Your Freezer," 12 June 2019 But given that even basic information on Venus is lacking, any small step will contribute to science. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Venus, Earth’s Evil Twin, Beckons Space Agencies," 12 June 2019 His wife, Tiffany Ortiz, and their children watched him walk a few steps with help, family spokesman Leo Lopez said. Faith Karimi, CNN, "Man who drove David Ortiz to the hospital describes holding his hand as they sped from the scene," 12 June 2019 The agriculture associated with peppermint and spearmint farming is an amazing process for the many steps to securing the precious mint oil as it is removed from the harvested foliage. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "After nearly two decades, region radio dropping Bob & Tom Show," 12 June 2019 The ban is seen as an unprecedented step to quash separatist voices. Fox News, "Timeline: Unease grows in Hong Kong about eroding freedoms," 12 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Raptors were always the stepping stone to someone else's moment. Rohan Nadkarni, SI.com, "The Journey of the Raptors' First Championship Team Will Be Remembered Forever," 14 June 2019 Every night during the pageant’s run, hundreds of volunteers step into life-size re-creations of artworks, some very well known, some a bit obscure. Richard Chang, latimes.com, "‘It’s like family’: Over 500 Pageant of the Masters volunteers and staff prepare for this year’s theme, ‘The Time Machine’," 13 June 2019 The show is so vocally demanding that Bautista has an alternate, Myra Molloy, who steps into the role, mostly on days when there are two performances. Terry Byrne, BostonGlobe.com, "A New Englander immerses herself in the world of ‘Miss Saigon’," 12 June 2019 Some exhibits are immersive, such as the Astronaut Training Experience, which allows kids and adults to step into the shoes of a space explorer in training. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, "School’s out: How to have fun and get the kids away from screens this summer," 10 June 2019 Stairs and stepping stones should be firm, not wobbly. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Tips for successful garden party," 9 June 2019 That initial job at Shelter to Solder became a stepping stone for Marroquin’s new job as an intake coordinator at Veterans Village of San Diego. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Service dog made veteran’s first pitch at Padres game possible," 7 June 2019 Brown is very happy to provide a stepping stone for people, and a platform. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Tina Brown on 10 Years of Women in the World," 11 Apr. 2019 Astronauts would learn lessons in Earth orbit and at the International Space Station that would propel NASA back to the moon, and the moon would be a stepping stone to putting boots on the surface of Mars. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "Not Going Back to the Moon: A Brief Timeline," 27 Mar. 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

16 Jun 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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