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 next step is to get a larger number of samples directly from drug manufacturers and conduct more robust testing, Woodcock said. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, "FDA finds small amounts of probable carcinogen in Zantac and other heartburn drugs," 13 Sep. 2019 The next step is for the veto to come before the council, where it can be overridden with at least a 4-1 vote or, failing that, the mayor's salary increase will be again struck down. Paul Gattis | Pgattis@al.com, al, "Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle again vetoes salary increase," 13 Sep. 2019 The next step is to return the job description to the CCVESA work group. Catalina Righter, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Carroll County getting closer to first director of fire and EMS, with job listing coming soon," 12 Sep. 2019 The next step is the completion of the environmental impact report, which is expected to be done by the end of the year. Sarah Ravani, SFChronicle.com, "Oakland A’s clear legislative hurdles as proposed ballpark moves forward," 12 Sep. 2019 Another step would be to include Taiwan in RIMPAC, the biennial military exercise on the Pacific Rim, next summer. Therese Shaheen, National Review, "The Need to Clarify and Strengthen Our Relationship with Taiwan," 11 Sep. 2019 The second step is to stop making plastic altogether. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "What We Learned From The Fortune Global Sustainability Forum," 11 Sep. 2019 The next step is for Applebaum’s team to make two important determinations at the Sept. 17 meeting of the steering committee. Peter Krouse, cleveland.com, "Delays in building a new Cuyahoga County Justice Center would be costly," 10 Sep. 2019 The final step is to mix in an egg white, which serves as another binder to ensure that the bars will hold together. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, "That Nut Butter Bar You're Obsessed With Is Easy to Make at Home," 10 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The council presidency has long been a stepping stone to the mayor’s office. Ian Duncan, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore Councilman Leon Pinkett says he’ll run for council president; Sneed says she’s also considering job," 14 Sep. 2019 According to Darktrace, a computer-security firm, attackers from Finland managed to break into the tank’s systems, then used it as a stepping stone for the rest of the casino’s networks. The Economist, "A connected world will be a playground for hackers," 12 Sep. 2019 The collection remains true to her design aesthetic while stepping it up: long layers of fringe, pearl details floating above organza ruffles, and excellent tailoring. Michelle Li, Teen Vogue, "Meet The Designer Who Wants Everyone To Wear More Sheer Clothing," 10 Sep. 2019 But what is the difference between seeking your vocation as a work-a-day role versus a stepping stone to bigger things? Gwen Moran, Fortune, "How to Tell If Your Job Is a Stepping Stone to a Career," 9 Sep. 2019 Whether coming or going, try not to step on anyone’s mat. The Washington Post, The Know, "The 12 dos and don’ts of yoga class," 7 Sep. 2019 McIntyre, a longtime local lawyer who led the county bar association, has stressed that he is committed to San Diego and wouldn’t use the council seat as a stepping stone to higher office in Sacramento. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Republicans rallying to save one of two remaining San Diego council seats," 2 Sep. 2019 Penn’s latest brush with the law raises serious questions about the UFC Hall of Famer’s readiness to step into the cage. Steven Marrocco, MMA Junkie, "Nik Lentz confident B.J. Penn fight will happen, serious about training offer," 29 Aug. 2019 Both fighters believe this could be a stepping stone to landing a shot at Jon Jones and the light heavyweight championship. Andrew Mahoney, BostonGlobe.com, "Fighters in main event at UFC’s Boston card have something to prove," 22 Aug. 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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Statistics for step

Last Updated

7 Oct 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

Comments on step

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