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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Idioms about step

Origin of step

before 900; (v.) Middle English steppen,Old English steppan; cognate with Old High German stepfen; akin to stamp; (noun) Middle English; Old English stepe

OTHER WORDS FROM step

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH step

step , steppe

Other definitions for step (2 of 2)

step-

a prefix denoting connection between members of a family by the remarriage of a parent and not by blood: stepbrother.

Origin of step-

Middle English; Old English stēop-; cognate with German stief-,Old Norse stjūp- step-; akin to Old English āstēpan to bereave, bestēpan to deprive (of children)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

WORDS THAT USE STEP-

What does step- mean?

Step– is a prefix denoting family members by remarriage rather than blood. It is occasionally used in kinship terms.

Step– comes from Old English stēop-, of the same meaning above, and is not related to the verb step, with the sense “to go by lifting the foot.” In Old English, stéopbearn means “orphan” and is connected to the verb āstēpan, meaning “to bereave.” Essentially, in Old English, a stepfather is one who has become a father to an orphan.

Examples of step-

An example of a term that features the prefix step– is stepbrother, “one’s stepfather’s son or stepmother’s son by a previous marriage.” Stepbrother comes from the Middle English word that uses the equivalent of step– in that language.

The form step– denotes a relationship by remarriage. The element brother, from Old English brōthor, means “brother,” as in “a male sibling.” Stepbrother literally means “brother from remarriage.”

What are some words that use the equivalent of the combining form step– in Middle or Old English?

What are some other forms that step– may be commonly confused with?

Not every word that begins with the exact letters step-, such as e.g., steptoe or stepper, is necessarily using the prefix step– to denote “family member by remarriage.” Learn why steptoe means “an isolated hill surrounded by lava” at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

Given the meaning of the prefix step-, what does stepparent mean?

How to use step in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for step (1 of 4)

step
/ (stɛp) /

noun
verb steps, stepping or stepped

Derived forms of step

steplike, adjective

Word Origin for step

Old English stepe, stæpe; related to Old Frisian stap, stepe, Old High German stapfo (German Stapfe footprint), Old Norse stapi high rock

British Dictionary definitions for step (2 of 4)

Step
/ (stɛp) /

noun
  1. a set of aerobic exercises designed to improve the cardiovascular system, which consists of stepping on and off a special box of adjustable height
  2. (as modifier)Step aerobics

British Dictionary definitions for step (3 of 4)

STEP
/ (stɛp) /

n acronym for
Special Temporary Employment Programme

British Dictionary definitions for step (4 of 4)

step-

combining form
indicating relationship through the previous marriage of a spouse or parent rather than by bloodstepson; stepfather

Word Origin for step-

Old English stēop-; compare āstӯpan to bereave
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with step

step

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