a movement made by lifting the foot and setting it down again in a new position, accompanied by a shifting of the weight of the body in the direction of the new position, as in walking, running, or dancing.
such a movement followed by a movement of equal distance of the other foot: The soldier took one step forward and stood at attention.
the space passed over or the distance measured by one such movement of the foot.
the sound made by the foot in making such a movement.
a mark or impression made by the foot on the ground; footprint.
the manner of walking; gait; stride.
pace in marching: double-quick step.
a pace uniform with that of another or others, or in time with music.
steps, movements or course in walking or running: to retrace one's steps.
a move, act, or proceeding, as toward some end or in the general course of some action; stage, measure, or period: the five steps to success.
rank, degree, or grade, as on a vertical scale.
a support for the foot in ascending or descending: a step of a ladder; a stair of 14 steps.
a very short distance: She was never more than a step away from her children.
a repeated pattern or unit of movement in a dance formed by a combination of foot and body motions.
a degree of the staff or of the scale.
steps, British. a stepladder.
an offset part of anything.
Nautical. a socket, frame, or platform for supporting the lower end of a mast.
Mining. a flat-topped ledge on the face of a quarry or a mine working.
to move, go, etc., by lifting the foot and setting it down again in a new position, or by using the feet alternately in this manner: to step forward.
to walk, or go on foot, especially for a few strides or a short distance: Step over to the bar.
to move with measured steps, as in a dance.
to go briskly or fast, as a horse.
to obtain, find, win, come upon, etc., something easily and naturally, as if by a mere step of the foot: to step into a good business opportunity.
to put the foot down; tread by intention or accident: to step on a cat's tail.
to press with the foot, as on a lever, spring, or the like, in order to operate some mechanism.
to take (a step, pace, stride, etc.).
to go through or perform the steps of (a dance).
to move or set (the foot) in taking a step.
to measure (a distance, ground, etc.) by steps (sometimes followed by off or out).
to make or arrange in the manner of a series of steps.
Nautical. to fix (a mast) in its step.
to lower or decrease by degrees.
to relinquish one's authority or control; resign: Although he was past retirement age, he refused to step down and let his son take over the business.
step in, to become involved; intervene, as in a quarrel or fight: The brawl was well under way by the time the police stepped in.
to leave a place, especially for a brief period of time.
to walk or march at a more rapid pace.
to go out to a social gathering or on a date: We're stepping out tonight.
to raise or increase by degrees: to step up production.
to be promoted; advance.
to make progress; improve.
Idioms about step
break step, to interrupt or cease walking or marching in step: The marching units were allowed to break step after they had passed the reviewing stand.
moving in time to a rhythm or with the corresponding step of others.
in harmony or conformity with: They are not in step with the times.
keep step, to keep pace; stay in step: The construction of classrooms and the training of teachers have not kept step with population growth.
out of step,
not in time to a rhythm or corresponding to the step of others.
not in harmony or conformity with: They are out of step with the others in their group.
step by step,
from one stage to the next in sequence.
gradually and steadily: We were shown the steelmaking process step by step.
step on it, Informal. to hasten one's activity or steps; hurry up: If we don't step on it, we'll miss the show.
take steps, to set about putting something into operation; begin to act: I will take steps to see that your application is processed.
watch one's step, to proceed with caution; behave prudently: If she doesn't watch her step, she will be fired from her job.
- stepless, adjective
- steplike, adjective
- coun·ter·step, noun, verb, coun·ter·stepped, coun·ter·step·ping.
- outstep, verb (used with object), out·stepped, out·step·ping.
- un·der·step, noun
- step , steppe
Other definitions for step- (2 of 2)
a prefix denoting connection between members of a family by the remarriage of a parent and not by blood: stepbrother.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use step in a sentence
We’re going to be conservative as he comes out the starting blocks and really make sure we’re always a step ahead of him a little bit.Wizards’ plan for John Wall involves fewer minutes, more run for Ish Smith, Cassius Winston | Ava Wallace | November 20, 2020 | Washington Post
This new agreement signals the next critical step for both companies.Mobileye taps Luminar to supply lidar for its robotaxi fleet | Kirsten Korosec | November 20, 2020 | TechCrunch
When you’re not using oxygen, it’s more like ten breaths per step.Everest Summits May Become Easier Due to Climate Change | Kyla Mandel | November 20, 2020 | Outside Online
The state health department is monitoring several metrics to determine next steps.Virginia’s coronavirus numbers are rising. Here’s what you need to know. | Antonio Olivo | November 20, 2020 | Washington Post
State and local leaders have warned that additional steps may be necessary to curb the spread of the virus.Maryland’s coronavirus numbers are going up. Here’s what you need to know. | Erin Cox | November 20, 2020 | Washington Post
The Supreme Court eventually stepped in and ended legal segregation in the landmark 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education.The ‘No Child’ Rewrite Threatens Your Kids’ Future | Jonah Edelman | January 3, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
That year, on August 10, the first woman stepped in for a pint.
Brinsley stepped up to the passenger side of the patrol car, raised a silver Taurus semi-automatic pistol and began firing.'Please Don't Die!': The Frantic Battle to Save Murdered Cops | Michael Daly | December 22, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
With his latest film, Big Eyes, the Robert Smith-coiffed 56-year-old has stepped back into reality.Tim Burton Talks ‘Big Eyes,’ His Taste For the Macabre, and the ‘Beetlejuice’ Sequel | Marlow Stern | December 17, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Perhaps in part because it was an FBI coup, the CIA stepped in with its high-priced psychologist.The Luxury Homes That Torture and Your Tax Dollars Built | Michael Daly | December 12, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Ten minutes later, veiled and cloaked, she stepped out alone into the garden.Hilda Lessways | Arnold Bennett
Her heart fluttered violently with fear as she saw that he stepped out after her, and walked by her side toward the house.Checkmate | Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Conny stepped smilingly forward, and proceeded to affix the band around the vicar's massive throat.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3) | Charles James Wills
An old weather-beaten bear-hunter stepped forward, squirting out his tobacco juice with all imaginable deliberation.
Rising at once he bundled up his traps, threw the line of his small hand-sledge over his shoulder, and stepped out for home.The Giant of the North | R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for step (1 of 4)
the act of motion brought about by raising the foot and setting it down again in coordination with the transference of the weight of the body
the distance or space covered by such a motion
the sound made by such a movement
the impression made by such movement of the foot; footprint
the manner of walking or moving the feet; gait: he received his prize with a proud step
a sequence of foot movements that make up a particular dance or part of a dance: I have mastered the steps of the waltz
any of several paces or rhythmic movements in marching, dancing, etc: the goose step
(plural) a course followed by a person in walking or as walking: they followed in their leader's steps
one of a sequence of separate consecutive stages in the progression towards some goal: another step towards socialism
a rank or grade in a series or scale: he was always a step behind
an object or device that offers support for the foot when ascending or descending
(plural) a flight of stairs, esp out of doors
(plural) another name for stepladder
a very short easily walked distance: it is only a step to my place
an offset or change in the level of a surface similar to the step of a stair
a strong block or frame bolted onto the keel of a vessel and fitted to receive the base of a mast
a ledge cut in mining or quarrying excavations
break step to cease to march in step
marching, dancing, etc, in conformity with a specified pace or moving in unison with others
informal in agreement or harmony
keep step to remain walking, marching, dancing, etc, in unison or in a specified rhythm
out of step
not moving in conformity with a specified pace or in accordance with others
informal not in agreement; out of harmony
step by step with care and deliberation; gradually
take steps to undertake measures (to do something) with a view to the attainment of some end
watch one's step
informal to conduct oneself with caution and good behaviour
to walk or move carefully
(intr) to move by raising the foot and then setting it down in a different position, transferring the weight of the body to this foot and repeating the process with the other foot
(intr; often foll by in, out, etc) to move or go on foot, esp for a short distance: step this way, ladies
(intr) informal, mainly US to move, often in an attractive graceful manner, as in dancing: he can really step around
(intr; usually foll by on or upon) to place or press the foot; tread: to step on the accelerator
(intr usually foll by into) to enter (into a situation) apparently with ease: she stepped into a life of luxury
(tr) to walk or take (a number of paces, etc): to step ten paces
(tr) to perform the steps of: they step the tango well
(tr) to set or place (the foot)
(tr; usually foll by off or out) to measure (some distance of ground) by stepping
(tr) to arrange in or supply with a series of steps so as to avoid coincidence or symmetry
(tr) to raise (a mast) and fit it into its step
- steplike, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for Step (2 of 4)
a set of aerobic exercises designed to improve the cardiovascular system, which consists of stepping on and off a special box of adjustable height
(as modifier): Step aerobics
British Dictionary definitions for STEP (3 of 4)
Special Temporary Employment Programme
British Dictionary definitions for step- (4 of 4)
indicating relationship through the previous marriage of a spouse or parent rather than by blood: stepson; stepfather
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
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
- 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.