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steppingstone

[step-ing-stohn] /ˈstɛp ɪŋˌstoʊn/
noun
1.
a stone, or one of a line of stones, in shallow water, a marshy place, or the like, that is stepped on in crossing.
2.
a stone for use in mounting or ascending.
3.
any means or stage of advancement or improvement:
She looked on the governorship as a steppingstone to the presidency.
Origin of steppingstone
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Historical Examples
  • The ships going out of port were such a steppingstone to him, and a vague consciousness came back to him of having been in a ship.

    A Simpleton Charles Reade

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