1 [steer]
verb (used with object)
to guide the course of (something in motion) by a rudder, helm, wheel, etc.: to steer a bicycle.
to follow or pursue (a particular course).
to direct the course of; guide: I can steer you to the best restaurant in town.
verb (used without object)
to direct the course of a vessel, vehicle, airplane, or the like, by the use of a rudder or other means.
to pursue a course of action.
(of a vessel, vehicle, airplane, etc.) to be steered or guided in a particular direction or manner.
Informal. a suggestion about a course of action; tip: He got a good steer about finding the right job.
steer clear of, to stay away from purposely; avoid: She steered clear of any deep emotional involvements.

before 900; Middle English steren, Old English stēoran, akin to stēor steering, guidance; cognate with German steuern, Old Norse stȳra, Gothic stiurjan

steerable, adjective
steerability, noun
unsteerable, adjective Unabridged


2 [steer]
noun, plural steers (especially collectively) steer.
a male bovine that is castrated before sexual maturity, especially one raised for beef.

before 900; Middle English; Old English stēor; cognate with Dutch, German Stier, Old Norse stjōrr, Gothic stiur


3 [steer]
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), noun British Dialect.
stir1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
steer1 (stɪə)
1.  to direct the course of (a vehicle or vessel) with a steering wheel, rudder, etc
2.  (tr) to guide with tuition: his teachers steered him through his exams
3.  (tr) to direct the movements or course of (a person, conversation, etc)
4.  to pursue (a specified course)
5.  (intr) (of a vessel, vehicle, etc) to admit of being guided in a specified fashion: this boat does not steer properly
6.  steer clear of to keep away from; shun
7.  chiefly (US) information; guidance (esp in the phrase a bum steer)
[Old English stieran; related to Old Frisian stiūra, Old Norse stӯra, German stevern; see starboard, stern²]

steer2 (stɪə)
a castrated male ox or bull; bullock
[Old English stēor; related to Old Norse stjōrr, Gothic stiur, Old High German stior, Middle Dutch stēr]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"guide the course of a vehicle," O.E. steran (Mercian), stieran (W.Saxon), from P.Gmc. *steurijanan (cf. O.N. styra, O.Fris. stiora, Du. sturen, O.H.G. stiuren, Ger. steuern "to steer," Goth. stiurjan "to establish, assert"), related to *steuro "rudder" (cf. O.E. steor "helm, rudder," Ger. Steuer and
first element in starboard), from PIE *steu-ro- (cf. Gk. stauros "stake, pole"), from base *sta- "to stand" (see stet). The notion is of a stiff, upright pillar or post used in steering. To steer clear of in the fig. sense of "to avoid completely" is recorded from 1723. Steerage (1399) was the steering apparatus of a ship before the introduction of the deck wheel; meaning "section of a ship with the cheapest accommodations" first recorded 1804. Steering committee in the U.S. political sense is recorded from 1887.

"young ox," O.E. steor "bullock," from P.Gmc. *steuraz (cf. O.S. stior, O.N. stjorr, Swed. tjur, Dan. tyr, M.Du., Du., Ger. stier, Goth. stiur "bull"), perhaps from PIE *steu-ro-, a base denoting "strength, sturdiness" (see taurus).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with steer, also see bum steer.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The usual cognitive and motivational processes that steer behavior in socially
  desirable paths no longer guide people.
Also steer clear of lightweight or shriveled bulbs, since these may have lost
  too much moisture to recover well.
But first economics limited that and now violence may steer others away.
As someone who grew up during the shuttle's early days, the program helped
  steer me down a scientific path.
Idioms & Phrases
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