• synonyms


adjective, steep·er, steep·est.
  1. having an almost vertical slope or pitch, or a relatively high gradient, as a hill, an ascent, stairs, etc.
  2. (of a price or amount) unduly high; exorbitant: Those prices are too steep for me.
  3. extreme or incredible, as a statement or story.
  4. high or lofty.
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  1. a steep place; declivity, as of a hill.
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Origin of steep

before 900; Middle English stepe (adj.), Old English stēap; akin to stoop1
Related formssteep·ly, adverbsteep·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for steepest

arduous, precipitous, hilly, abrupt, sharp, lofty, exorbitant, excessive, dizzying, stiff, drench, bathe, immerse, suffuse, marinate, saturate, permeate, submerge, soak, infuse

Examples from the Web for steepest

Contemporary Examples of steepest

Historical Examples of steepest

  • These let down ropes, and ladders had been hauled up the steepest places.

  • Think of the fools who climb the highest and steepest mountains just for sport.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

  • We were just over the brow of this hill, where the grade is steepest, when the trouble began.

    Danger! and Other Stories

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Surely it is the deepest, the steepest, and the greenest cleugh that is shone on by the sun!

    Angling Sketches

    Andrew Lang

  • The jar knocked Dan to the floor, pitched that moment at its steepest angle.

British Dictionary definitions for steepest


    1. having or being a slope or gradient approaching the perpendicular
    2. (as noun)the steep
  1. informal (of a fee, price, demand, etc) unduly high; unreasonable (esp in the phrase that's a bit steep)
  2. informal excessively demanding or ambitiousa steep task
  3. British informal (of a statement) extreme or far-fetched
  4. obsolete elevated
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Derived Formssteeply, adverbsteepness, noun

Word Origin for steep

Old English steap; related to Old Frisian stāp, Old High German stouf cliff, Old Norse staup


  1. to soak or be soaked in a liquid in order to soften, cleanse, extract an element, etc
  2. (tr; usually passive) to saturate; imbuesteeped in ideology
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  1. an instance or the process of steeping or the condition of being steeped
  2. a liquid or solution used for the purpose of steeping something
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Derived Formssteeper, noun

Word Origin for steep

Old English stēpan; related to steap vessel, cup, Old High German stouf, Old Norse staup, Middle Dutch stōp
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 steepest



"having a sharp slope," Old English steap "high, lofty," from Proto-Germanic *staupaz (cf. Old Frisian stap, Middle High German *stouf), from PIE *steup- "to push, stick, knock, beat," with derivations referring to projecting objects (cf. Greek typtein "to strike," typos "a blow, mold, die;" Sanskrit tup- "harm," tundate "pushes, stabs;" Gothic stautan "push;" Old Norse stuttr "short"). The sense of "precipitous" is from c.1200. The slang sense "at a high price" is a U.S. coinage first attested 1856. Related: Steeply; steepness.

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"to soak in a liquid," late 14c., of uncertain origin, originally in reference to barley or malt, probably cognate with Old Norse steypa "to pour out, throw" (or an unrecorded Old English cognate), from Proto-Germanic *staupijanan. Related: Steeped; steeping.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper