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  1. an extensive plain, especially one without trees.
  2. 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 confusedstep steppe

Kirghiz Steppe

  1. a steppe in Kazakhstan.
Also called The Steppes.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for steppes

Historical Examples

  • I have tried Tibet, China, and the steppes of Siberia—with the same result.

    David and the Phoenix

    Edward Ormondroyd

  • They are also found on the steppes bordering the Caspian and Aral Seas.

  • Suddenly all came to life; the forests, the pools, the steppes.

    High Noon


  • It was a north-easter, laden with dust, and a sense of frozen Siberian steppes.

    Robert Falconer

    George MacDonald

  • Rather than give these up some of them would have sold half the steppes.

British Dictionary definitions for steppes


pl n the Steppes
  1. the huge grasslands of Eurasia, chiefly in Ukraine and Russia
  2. another name for Kyrgyz Steppe

Kirghiz Steppe

  1. a variant spelling of Kyrgyz Steppe


  1. (often plural) an extensive grassy plain usually without treesCompare 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

Word Origin and History for steppes



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

steppes in Science


  1. A vast, semiarid grassland, as found in southeast Europe, Siberia, and central North America.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

steppes in Culture



Vast grassy plains associated with eastern Russia and Siberia.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.