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[steep] /stip/
adjective, steeper, steepest.
having an almost vertical slope or pitch, or a relatively high gradient, as a hill, an ascent, stairs, etc.
(of a price or amount) unduly high; exorbitant:
Those prices are too steep for me.
extreme or incredible, as a statement or story.
high or lofty.
a steep place; declivity, as of a hill.
Origin of steep1
before 900; Middle English stepe (adj.), Old English stēap; akin to stoop1
Related forms
steeply, adverb
steepness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for steepness
Historical Examples
  • Well, I guess I can find a use for you too, but the putting you together increases the steepness of the chances you are taking.

    The Dust of Conflict David Goodger (
  • The steepness of the precipice was guard enough near the town.

  • From there up, owing to the steepness of the ascent, we had to employ different tactics.

    The Scientific American Boy A. Russell (Alexander Russell) Bond
  • The steepness of the declivity made it necessary for Orso to dismount.

    Columba Prosper Merimee
  • The two armies were separated by the river Ourthe, the passage of which was rendered difficult by the steepness of the banks.

    History of Julius Caesar Vol. 2 of 2 Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, 1808-1873.
  • He would doubtless have run had it not been for the steepness of the earlier ascents.

    Godfrey Morgan Jules Verne
  • Its great length (460 ft.) and the height and steepness of its vaulted cedar-wood roof are very impressive.

  • For a few moments I was breathless—but not from the steepness of the ascent.

    Bibliomania; or Book-Madness Thomas Frognall Dibdin
  • Its steepness is, indeed, an advantage, as it requires less time than the other route.

    The Guardians of the Columbia John H. (John Harvey) Williams
  • But we didn't mind the steepness so long as the enemy wasn't anywhar's about.

    Indian and Scout F. S. Brereton
British Dictionary definitions for steepness


  1. having or being a slope or gradient approaching the perpendicular
  2. (as noun): the steep
(informal) (of a fee, price, demand, etc) unduly high; unreasonable (esp in the phrase that's a bit steep)
(informal) excessively demanding or ambitious: a steep task
(Brit, informal) (of a statement) extreme or far-fetched
(obsolete) elevated
Derived Forms
steeply, adverb
steepness, noun
Word Origin
Old English steap; related to Old Frisian stāp, Old High German stouf cliff, Old Norse staup


to soak or be soaked in a liquid in order to soften, cleanse, extract an element, etc
(transitive; usually passive) to saturate; imbue: steeped in ideology
an instance or the process of steeping or the condition of being steeped
a liquid or solution used for the purpose of steeping something
Derived Forms
steeper, noun
Word Origin
Old English stēpan; related to steap vessel, cup, Old High German stouf, Old Norse staup, Middle Dutch stōp
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for steepness



"having a sharp slope," Old English steap "high, lofty," from Proto-Germanic *staupaz (cf. Old Frisian stap, Middle High German *stouf), from PIE *steup- "to push, stick, knock, beat," with derivations referring to projecting objects (cf. Greek typtein "to strike," typos "a blow, mold, die;" Sanskrit tup- "harm," tundate "pushes, stabs;" Gothic stautan "push;" Old Norse stuttr "short"). The sense of "precipitous" is from c.1200. The slang sense "at a high price" is a U.S. coinage first attested 1856. Related: Steeply; steepness.


"to soak in a liquid," late 14c., of uncertain origin, originally in reference to barley or malt, probably cognate with Old Norse steypa "to pour out, throw" (or an unrecorded Old English cognate), from Proto-Germanic *staupijanan. Related: Steeped; steeping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for steepness

steam was coming out of someone's ears


He or she was or is very angry: Houk was red-faced with anger. Steam was coming out of his ears (1960s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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