- to guide the course of (something in motion) by a rudder, helm, wheel, etc.: to steer a bicycle.
- to follow or pursue (a particular course).
- to direct the course of; guide: I can steer you to the best restaurant in town.
- to direct the course of a vessel, vehicle, airplane, or the like, by the use of a rudder or other means.
- to pursue a course of action.
- (of a vessel, vehicle, airplane, etc.) to be steered or guided in a particular direction or manner.
- Informal. a suggestion about a course of action; tip: He got a good steer about finding the right job.
- steer clear of, to stay away from purposely; avoid: She steered clear of any deep emotional involvements.
Origin of steer1
- to direct the course of (a vehicle or vessel) with a steering wheel, rudder, etc
- (tr) to guide with tuitionhis teachers steered him through his exams
- (tr) to direct the movements or course of (a person, conversation, etc)
- to pursue (a specified course)
- (intr) (of a vessel, vehicle, etc) to admit of being guided in a specified fashionthis boat does not steer properly
- steer clear of to keep away from; shun
- mainly US information; guidance (esp in the phrase a bum steer)
Word Origin for steer
- a castrated male ox or bull; bullock
Word Origin for steer
Word Origin and History for steerability
"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.
"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).
Idioms and Phrases with steerability
In addition to the idiom beginning with steer
- steer clear of
- bum steer