a movement made by lifting the foot and setting it down again in a new position, accompanied by a shifting of the weight of the body in the direction of the new position, as in walking, running, or dancing.
such a movement followed by a movement of equal distance of the other foot: The soldier took one step forward and stood at attention.
the space passed over or the distance measured by one such movement of the foot.
the sound made by the foot in making such a movement.
a mark or impression made by the foot on the ground; footprint.
the manner of walking; gait; stride.
pace in marching: double-quick step.
a pace uniform with that of another or others, or in time with music.
steps, movements or course in walking or running: to retrace one's steps.
a move, act, or proceeding, as toward some end or in the general course of some action; stage, measure, or period: the five steps to success.
rank, degree, or grade, as on a vertical scale.
a support for the foot in ascending or descending: a step of a ladder; a stair of 14 steps.
a very short distance: She was never more than a step away from her children.
a repeated pattern or unit of movement in a dance formed by a combination of foot and body motions.
a degree of the staff or of the scale.
the interval between two adjacent scale degrees; second. Compare semitone, whole step.
steps, British. a stepladder.
an offset part of anything.
Nautical. a socket, frame, or platform for supporting the lower end of a mast.
Mining. a flat-topped ledge on the face of a quarry or a mine working.
verb (used without object), stepped, stepping.
to move, go, etc., by lifting the foot and setting it down again in a new position, or by using the feet alternately in this manner: to step forward.
to walk, or go on foot, especially for a few strides or a short distance: Step over to the bar.
to move with measured steps, as in a dance.
to go briskly or fast, as a horse.
to obtain, find, win, come upon, etc., something easily and naturally, as if by a mere step of the foot: to step into a good business opportunity.
to put the foot down; tread by intention or accident: to step on a cat's tail.
to press with the foot, as on a lever, spring, or the like, in order to operate some mechanism.
verb (used with object), stepped, stepping.
to take (a step, pace, stride, etc.).
to go through or perform the steps of (a dance).
to move or set (the foot) in taking a step.
to measure (a distance, ground, etc.) by steps (sometimes followed by off or out ).
to make or arrange in the manner of a series of steps.
Nautical. to fix (a mast) in its step.
Verb phrases
step down,
to lower or decrease by degrees.
to relinquish one's authority or control; resign: Although he was past retirement age, he refused to step down and let his son take over the business.
step in, to become involved; intervene, as in a quarrel or fight: The brawl was well under way by the time the police stepped in.
step out,
to leave a place, especially for a brief period of time.
to walk or march at a more rapid pace.
to go out to a social gathering or on a date: We're stepping out tonight.
step up,
to raise or increase by degrees: to step up production.
to be promoted; advance.
to make progress; improve.
break step, to interrupt or cease walking or marching in step: The marching units were allowed to break step after they had passed the reviewing stand.
in step,
moving in time to a rhythm or with the corresponding step of others.
in harmony or conformity with: They are not in step with the times.
keep step, to keep pace; stay in step: The construction of classrooms and the training of teachers have not kept step with population growth.
out of step,
not in time to a rhythm or corresponding to the step of others.
not in harmony or conformity with: They are out of step with the others in their group.
step by step,
from one stage to the next in sequence.
gradually and steadily: We were shown the steelmaking process step by step.
step on it, Informal. to hasten one's activity or steps; hurry up: If we don't step on it, we'll miss the show.
take steps, to set about putting something into operation; begin to act: I will take steps to see that your application is processed.
watch one's step, to proceed with caution; behave prudently: If she doesn't watch her step, she will be fired from her job.

before 900; (v.) Middle English steppen, Old English steppan; cognate with Old High German stepfen; akin to stamp; (noun) Middle English; Old English stepe

stepless, adjective
steplike, adjective
counterstep, noun, verb, counterstepped, counterstepping.
outstep, verb (used with object), outstepped, outstepping.
understep, noun

step, steppe. Unabridged


a prefix denoting connection between members of a family by the remarriage of a parent and not by blood: stepbrother.

Middle English; Old English stēop-; cognate with German stief-, Old Norse stjūp- step-; akin to Old English āstēpan to bereave, bestēpan to deprive (of children) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
step (stɛp)
1.  the act of motion brought about by raising the foot and setting it down again in coordination with the transference of the weight of the body
2.  the distance or space covered by such a motion
3.  the sound made by such a movement
4.  the impression made by such movement of the foot; footprint
5.  the manner of walking or moving the feet; gait: he received his prize with a proud step
6.  a sequence of foot movements that make up a particular dance or part of a dance: I have mastered the steps of the waltz
7.  any of several paces or rhythmic movements in marching, dancing, etc: the goose step
8.  (plural) a course followed by a person in walking or as walking: they followed in their leader's steps
9.  one of a sequence of separate consecutive stages in the progression towards some goal: another step towards socialism
10.  a rank or grade in a series or scale: he was always a step behind
11.  an object or device that offers support for the foot when ascending or descending
12.  (plural) a flight of stairs, esp out of doors
13.  (plural) another name for stepladder
14.  a very short easily walked distance: it is only a step to my place
15.  music whole tone See half-step a melodic interval of a second
16.  an offset or change in the level of a surface similar to the step of a stair
17.  a strong block or frame bolted onto the keel of a vessel and fitted to receive the base of a mast
18.  a ledge cut in mining or quarrying excavations
19.  break step to cease to march in step
20.  in step
 a.  marching, dancing, etc, in conformity with a specified pace or moving in unison with others
 b.  informal in agreement or harmony
21.  keep step to remain walking, marching, dancing, etc, in unison or in a specified rhythm
22.  out of step
 a.  not moving in conformity with a specified pace or in accordance with others
 b.  informal not in agreement; out of harmony
23.  step by step with care and deliberation; gradually
24.  take steps to undertake measures (to do something) with a view to the attainment of some end
25.  watch one's step
 a.  informal to conduct oneself with caution and good behaviour
 b.  to walk or move carefully
vb (usually foll by into) , steps, stepping, stepped
26.  (intr) to move by raising the foot and then setting it down in a different position, transferring the weight of the body to this foot and repeating the process with the other foot
27.  (intr; often foll by in, out, etc) to move or go on foot, esp for a short distance: step this way, ladies
28.  informal chiefly (US) (intr) to move, often in an attractive graceful manner, as in dancing: he can really step around
29.  (intr; usually foll by on or upon) to place or press the foot; tread: to step on the accelerator
30.  to enter (into a situation) apparently with ease: she stepped into a life of luxury
31.  (tr) to walk or take (a number of paces, etc): to step ten paces
32.  (tr) to perform the steps of: they step the tango well
33.  (tr) to set or place (the foot)
34.  (tr; usually foll by off or out) to measure (some distance of ground) by stepping
35.  (tr) to arrange in or supply with a series of steps so as to avoid coincidence or symmetry
36.  (tr) to raise (a mast) and fit it into its step
[Old English stepe, stæpe; related to Old Frisian stap, stepe, Old High German stapfo (German Stapfe footprint), Old Norse stapi high rock]

Step (stɛp)
a.  a set of aerobic exercises designed to improve the cardiovascular system, which consists of stepping on and off a special box of adjustable height
 b.  (as modifier): Step aerobics

STEP (stɛp)
n acronym for
Special Temporary Employment Programme

combining form
indicating relationship through the previous marriage of a spouse or parent rather than by blood: stepson; stepfather
[Old English stēop-; compare āstӯpan to bereave]

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

O.E. steppan (Anglian), stæppan (W.Saxon) "take a step," from W.Gmc. *stap- "tread" (cf. O.Fris., M.Du., Du. stap, O.H.G. stapfo, Ger. stapfe "footstep"), from PIE base *stebh- "to tread, step" (cf. O.C.S. stopa "step, pace," stepeni "step, degree"). Originally strong (p.t. stop, pp. bestapen);
weak forms emerged 13c., universal from 16c. Stepping stone first recorded early 14c.; in the figurative sense 1653. Step on it "hurry up" is 1923, from notion of gas pedal; step out (v.) is from 1907.

O.E. steop-, with connotations of "loss," in combinations like steopcild "orphan," related to astiepan, bestiepan "to bereave, to deprive of parents or children," from P.Gmc. *steupa- "bereft" (cf. O.Fris. stiap-, O.N. stjup-, Swed. styv-, M.L.G. stef-, Du. stief-, O.H.G. stiof-, Ger. stief-), lit.
"pushed out," from PIE *steup-, from base *(s)teu- (see steep (adj.)). Etymologically, a stepfather or stepmother is one who becomes father or mother to an orphan, but the notion of orphanage faded in 20c. For sense evolution, cf. L. privignus "stepson," related to privus "deprived."

O.E. steppa (Mercian), stæpe, stepe (W.Saxon) "stair, act of stepping," from the source of step (v.). Meaning "action which leads toward a result" is recorded from 1549. Stepladder (one with steps instead of rungs) is from 1751. Warning phrase watch your step is attested
from 1934. Step-dancing first recorded 1886.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

STEP definition

Standard for the exchange of product model data

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
Space Test Experiment Platform
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with step, also see false step; in step; (step) out of line; take steps; watch one's step.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
However, once you leave a step, you must either go all up or all down during
  that particular move.
When markets go astray the answer is not to make the taxpayer step in once
  more, but to introduce better regulation.
Many companies use biocatalysts internally, as one step in a multi-step
  process, rather than selling them in the marketplace.
The next step for the team is to bring quality into the equation.
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