1 : a rest for the foot in ascending or descending: such as
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a : one of a series of structures consisting of a riser and a tread
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
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
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
1a : to move by raising the foot and bringing it down elsewhere or by moving each foot in succession They stepped into the elevator. She stepped inside and closed the door. I’m sorry, but he just stepped outside for a moment. When I call your name, please step forward. She stepped up to the microphone. I stepped up/down onto the landing. He stepped back, startled. Please step away from the moving doors. They stepped aside to let the paramedics through. We watched as the passengers stepped ashore.
b : dance Joyfully along the contra lines, the dancers held hands, listened to the caller, and stepped to the music Joan Donaldson2a : to go on foot : walk She stepped down to the corner store. see also step outc : to be on one’s way : leave often used with along told them to step along see also step aside, step down
d : to move briskly kept us stepping
3 : to press down with the foot step on the brake
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4 : to come as if at a single step stepped into a good job
5 : to extend by or as if by a stairstep the room steps down past a viewing area to a projection television screen hung from the ceiling. Sunset A wooden retaining wallwhich holds the slope above the staircasesteps up in level sections. Susan Lang
1 : to take (a pace, etc.) by moving the feet in succession step three paces
2a : to move (the foot) in any direction : set the first person to step foot on the moon
b : to traverse (something) on foot proud of stepping this famous pavement Virginia Woolf
3 : to go through the steps of (something) : perform step a minuet
4 : to make (something) erect by fixing the lower end in a step step the mast
5 : to measure (something) by steps step off 50 yards
6a : to provide (something) with steps He stepped the front of the stage down into the stalls and built a permanent cyclorama across the full width of the rear wall. Colin Chambers
b : to make steps in (something) step a key
7 : to construct or arrange (something) in or as if in steps we looked down on an expanse of craggy peaks with terraces stepped up the sides Time
see also step on it, step up
: related by virtue of a remarriage (as of a parent) and not by blood stepparent stepsister
Other Words from step
Examples of step in a Sentence
First Known Use of step
before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1
before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a
History and Etymology for step
Middle English, from Old English stæpe; akin to Old High German stapfo step, stampfōn to stamp
Middle English, from Old English stēop-; akin to Old High German stiof- step-, Old English astēpan to deprive, bereave
Cite this Entry
Step. Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/step. Accessed 11 Feb. 2022.
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: a movement made by lifting your foot and putting it down in a different place
: the sound of a foot making a step : footstep
: the distance covered in one step also : a short distance
: to move in a specified direction by lifting your foot and putting it down in a different place : to move somewhere by walking
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
See the full definition for step- in the English Language Learners Dictionary
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
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 )
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.
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.
: to increase the amount, speed, or intensity of The factory stepped up production.
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