whole step


: a musical interval (such as C–D or C–B) comprising two half steps

called also whole tone

Examples of whole step in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It’s added a whole step to help protect our customers, our own family and employees. Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 23 Nov. 2020 Others went so far as to demand that President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party as a whole step down. Los Angeles Times, 7 Dec. 2022 One of the things about the pandemic is that the video calls are great, but actually being here in a podcast studio with somebody is actually just a whole step above that. Tax Notes Staff, Forbes, 20 Jan. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'whole step.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1899, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of whole step was circa 1899

Dictionary Entries Near whole step

Cite this Entry

“Whole step.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whole%20step. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

whole step

: the basic unit of measurement of the difference in pitch between two tones equal to that between a C and the D just above it
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