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See more synonyms for steer on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to guide the course of (something in motion) by a rudder, helm, wheel, etc.: to steer a bicycle.
  2. to follow or pursue (a particular course).
  3. to direct the course of; guide: I can steer you to the best restaurant in town.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to direct the course of a vessel, vehicle, airplane, or the like, by the use of a rudder or other means.
  2. to pursue a course of action.
  3. (of a vessel, vehicle, airplane, etc.) to be steered or guided in a particular direction or manner.
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  1. Informal. a suggestion about a course of action; tip: He got a good steer about finding the right job.
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  1. steer clear of, to stay away from purposely; avoid: She steered clear of any deep emotional involvements.
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Origin of steer1

before 900; Middle English steren, Old English stēoran, akin to stēor steering, guidance; cognate with German steuern, Old Norse stȳra, Gothic stiurjan
Related formssteer·a·ble, adjectivesteer·a·bil·i·ty, nounun·steer·a·ble, adjective


noun, plural steers, (especially collectively) steer.
  1. a male bovine that is castrated before sexual maturity, especially one raised for beef.
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Origin of steer2

before 900; Middle English; Old English stēor; cognate with Dutch, German Stier, Old Norse stjōrr, Gothic stiur


verb (used with or without object), noun British Dialect.
  1. stir1.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for steer

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Peart and cunnin', but a heap too wise fur you, son; take my steer on that.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Garmer tried to steer me off this line of stocks the other night.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I was tired of trying to steer a course for myself, with no compass to go by.

  • Taking Misargyrides' arm and attempting to steer him off-stage.

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus

    Wilton Wallace Blancke

  • Well, I'll tell you somethin'—will you put down a good bet if I steer you straight?


    W. A. Fraser

British Dictionary definitions for steer


  1. to direct the course of (a vehicle or vessel) with a steering wheel, rudder, etc
  2. (tr) to guide with tuitionhis teachers steered him through his exams
  3. (tr) to direct the movements or course of (a person, conversation, etc)
  4. to pursue (a specified course)
  5. (intr) (of a vessel, vehicle, etc) to admit of being guided in a specified fashionthis boat does not steer properly
  6. steer clear of to keep away from; shun
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  1. mainly US information; guidance (esp in the phrase a bum steer)
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Derived Formssteerable, adjectivesteerer, noun

Word Origin

Old English stieran; related to Old Frisian stiūra, Old Norse stӯra, German stevern; see starboard, stern ²


  1. a castrated male ox or bull; bullock
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Word Origin

Old English stēor; related to Old Norse stjōrr, Gothic stiur, Old High German stior, Middle Dutch stēr
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 steer


"guide the course of a vehicle," Old English steran (Mercian), stieran (West Saxon), from Proto-Germanic *steurijanan (cf. Old Norse styra, Old Frisian stiora, Dutch sturen, Old High German stiuren, German steuern "to steer," Gothic stiurjan "to establish, assert"), related to *steuro "a rudder, a steering" (cf. Old English steor "helm, rudder," German Steuer and first element in starboard), from PIE *steu-ro- (cf. Greek stauros "stake, pole"), from root *sta- "to stand" (see stet).

The notion is of a stiff, upright pillar or post used in steering. To steer clear of in the figurative sense of "to avoid completely" is recorded from 1723. Related: Steered; steering. Steering committee in the U.S. political sense is recorded from 1887.

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"young ox," Old English steor "bullock," from Proto-Germanic *steuraz (cf. Old Saxon stior, Old Norse stjorr, Swedish tjur, Danish tyr, Middle Dutch, Dutch, German stier, Gothic stiur "bull"), perhaps from PIE *steu-ro-, a root denoting "strength, sturdiness" (see taurus).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with steer


In addition to the idiom beginning with steer

  • steer clear of

also see:

  • bum steer
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.