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[step] /stɛp/
an extensive plain, especially one without trees.
The Steppes,
  1. the vast grasslands, especially those in the S and E European and W and SW Asian parts of Russia.
  2. Kirghiz Steppe.
Origin of steppe
1665-75; < Russian step' or Ukrainian step; ulterior origin uncertain
Can be confused
step, steppe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for steppe
  • When he escaped from prison he was quickly back on the steppe.
  • His salary has helped make them well-off by steppe standards.
  • The fire ecology of intermountain steppe is influenced by its distinctive physiognomy and phenology.
  • The effects of precipitation timing on sagebrush steppe vegetation.
  • Shrub-steppe early succession following invasive juniper cutting and prescribed fire.
  • Fire is a natural process in the sagebrush steppe and any given area can be expected to burn perhaps once a century.
  • Some areas of degraded shrub-steppe will need to be restored in order to support nesting sage-grouse.
British Dictionary definitions for steppe


(often pl) an extensive grassy plain usually without trees Compare prairie, pampas
Word Origin
C17: from Old Russian step lowland
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 steppe

vast treeless plain of southeastern Europe and of Asia, 1670s, from Russian *step', of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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steppe in Science
A vast, semiarid grassland, as found in southeast Europe, Siberia, and central North America.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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