[ step-doun ]
/ ˈstɛpˌdaʊn /

adjective Electricity.

serving to reduce or decrease voltage: a step-down transformer.

Nearby words

  1. step turn,
  2. step up,
  3. step-,
  4. step-and-repeat,
  5. step-by-step,
  6. step-in,
  7. step-off,
  8. step-on,
  9. step-parent,
  10. step-up

Origin of step-down

First recorded in 1890–95; adj. use of verb phrase step down

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

Related forms
Can be confusedstep steppe Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for step down

step down

verb (adverb)

(tr) to reduce gradually
(intr) informal to resign or abdicate (from a position)
(intr) informal to assume an inferior or less senior position

adjective step-down (prenominal)

(of a transformer) reducing a high voltage applied to the primary winding to a lower voltage on the secondary windingCompare step up
decreasing or falling by stages

noun step-down

informal a decrease in quantity or size


/ (stɛp) /


verb steps, stepping or stepped

Derived Formssteplike, 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


/ (stɛp) /


  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


/ (stɛp) /

n acronym for

Special Temporary Employment Programme
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 step down
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with step down

step down


Resign from office, as in He threatened to step down if they continued to argue with him. [Late 1800s]


Reduce, especially in stages, as in They were stepping down the voltage. [c. 1900] Also see step up, def. 1.


In addition to the idioms beginning with step

  • step aside
  • step by step
  • step down
  • step in
  • step in the right direction, a
  • step into
  • step into someone's shoes
  • step on it
  • step on someone's toes
  • step out
  • step out of line
  • step up

also see:

  • false step
  • in step
  • (step) out of line
  • take steps
  • watch one's step
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.