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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from step

Noun

steplike \ ˈstep-​ˌlīk How to pronounce step- (audio) \ adjective
stepped \ ˈstept How to pronounce step- (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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His next step will be in Louisville at the alternate site. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, "Cincinnati Reds notes: Shogo Akiyama, Sonny Gray and Michael Lorenzen still a ways away," 3 Apr. 2021 Suddenly, there’s a skip in its step and a lilt in the vocals. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, "Demi Lovato’s Redemption Arc Begins," 2 Apr. 2021 On his third vertical step, Landry broke inside, leaving his defender stumbling. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Why the Browns’ Jarvis Landry is still one of the best slot receivers in the NFL -- Film Review," 31 Mar. 2021 At one point Monday night, James Harden stuck a three right over Timberwolves rookie Jaden McDaniels off one of his patented step back moves. Chris Hine, Star Tribune, "Timberwolves' Jaden McDaniels experiences defensive trials by fire," 31 Mar. 2021 His jumps have a lot of hangtime and defenders struggle to keep up with his first step. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' young core steps up in 118-104 home win over Toronto Raptors," 30 Mar. 2021 With an orthotic footbed, they're bound to put a spring in your step. Rebecca Carhart, Travel + Leisure, "The 14 Most Comfortable Pairs of Slippers for Men and Women, According to Thousands of Shoppers," 29 Mar. 2021 The iconic side panels represent muscles while visible Nike Air in the heel and forefoot cushions your every step. oregonlive, "It’s Nike Air Max Day 2021: Classics or new releases, which pair is your favorite?," 26 Mar. 2021 Her first step was to focus on a cute little rodent from the Mongolian steppe: the marmot. David M. Perry, Smithsonian Magazine, "Did the Black Death Rampage Across the World a Century Earlier Than Previously Thought?," 25 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Teams are reluctant to lobby for the honor so as not to step on Manfred’s message, but rest assured several have let MLB know of their interest, including the Chicago Cubs. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Many teams — including the Chicago Cubs — will look to replace Atlanta as the site of the 2021 All-Star Game. So why not have it at Wrigley Field?," 3 Apr. 2021 Now breathe all that in, then step to the window at Milpa for some great street tacos, pozole and quesadillas. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Milpa food truck in Government Hill excels at Mexican street tacos, pozole and other street foods for a Worth a Drive rating," 26 Mar. 2021 While this might be the obvious choice, SWV cannot step into the battle without their 1993 hit. Essence, "Every Song We Hope Xscape And SWV Will Perform During Their Verzuz Battle," 25 Mar. 2021 Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has said the Cardinals believe Chase Edmonds can step into a full-time role at running back, if needed. Bob Mcmanaman, The Arizona Republic, "Steve Keim: Cardinals' offseason roster moves thus far focused on quality over quantity," 22 Mar. 2021 Bryan Harsin will step onto the field with his new team for the first time Monday when Auburn starts spring practice. Giana Han, al, "What Bryan Harsin said before Auburn’s spring practice," 16 Mar. 2021 Pitchers must fully step off the rubber before attempting a pickoff throw at first base. Los Angeles Times, "Dodgers Dugout: You will be able to attend Dodger games this season," 15 Mar. 2021 Lambrecht’s intentionally limited involvement in the #coravingate debate online was to step in briefly to defend the efficacy of the technology, then quickly step back. Cathy Huyghe, Forbes, "From Coravin-Gate To Kickstarter: COVID’s Crowd Influence On Wine," 12 Mar. 2021 Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey could walk outside his Rolfs Hall office, step into his car, point it south and be at South Bend Saint Joseph High School in maybe five minutes. Tom Noie, The Indianapolis Star, "Pandemic keeps area standouts J.R. Konieczny, Blake Wesley perfect strangers to Notre Dame," 10 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about step

Time Traveler for step

Time Traveler

The first known use of step was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for step

Last Updated

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Step.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/step. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on step

What made you want to look up step? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!