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[steep] /stip/
verb (used with object)
to soak in water or other liquid, as to soften, cleanse, or extract some constituent:
to steep tea in boiling-hot water; to steep reeds for basket weaving.
to wet thoroughly in or with a liquid; drench; saturate; imbue.
to immerse in or saturate or imbue with some pervading, absorbing, or stupefying influence or agency:
an incident steeped in mystery.
verb (used without object)
to lie soaking in a liquid.
the act or process of steeping or the state of being steeped.
a liquid in which something is steeped.
Origin of steep2
late Middle English
1350-1400; (v.) Middle English stepen < ?; compare Swedish stöpa; (noun) late Middle English stepe, derivative of the v.
Related forms
steeper, noun
unsteeped, adjective
1. infuse. 2. permeate. 3. bury, engulf. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for steeped
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Age had steeped him deep in black wisdom, not weakened his powers of evil.

    A Witch Shall Be Born Robert E. Howard
  • The glory in which the world had been steeped only yesterday had grown pale and grey.

    For the Master's Sake Emily Sarah Holt
  • He had been highly educated while at Naples, and had steeped himself in the New Learning.

  • I did not ride him again for some days, and when I did, I found him steeped in Byronic gloom.

    The Talking Horse F. Anstey
  • It seems when I fished I was steeped in dreams of the sea and the beauty of the lonely islands.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
British Dictionary definitions for steeped


  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 steeped



"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 steeped

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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