verb (used without object), stepped, step·ping.
verb (used with object), stepped, step·ping.
- 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.
- 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.
- step aerobics,
- step aside,
- step by step,
- step change,
- step cut
- 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.
- 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.
- from one stage to the next in sequence.
- gradually and steadily: We were shown the steelmaking process step by step.
Origin of step
- marching, dancing, etc, in conformity with a specified pace or moving in unison with others
- informalin agreement or harmony
- not moving in conformity with a specified pace or in accordance with others
- informalnot in agreement; out of harmony
- informalto conduct oneself with caution and good behaviour
- to walk or move carefully
verb steps, stepping or stepped
Word Origin for step
- 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
n acronym for
Old English steppan (Anglian), stæppan (West Saxon) "take a step," from West Germanic *stap- "tread" (cf. Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch stap, Old High German stapfo, German stapfe "footstep"), from PIE root *stebh- "to tread, step" (cf. Old Church Slavonic stopa "step, pace," stepeni "step, degree"). Originally strong (past tense stop, past participle bestapen); weak forms emerged 13c., universal from 16c. Stepping stone first recorded early 14c.; in the figurative sense 1650s. Step on it "hurry up" is 1923, from notion of gas pedal; step out (v.) is from 1907.
Old English steppa (Mercian), stæpe, stepe (West Saxon) "stair, act of stepping," from the source of step (v.). Meaning "action which leads toward a result" is recorded from 1540s. Warning phrase watch your step is attested from 1934. Step-dancing first recorded 1886.
watch one's step
Exercise caution, as in You'd better watch your step talking to them about a merger. Often put as an admonition, this phrase transfers taking care in walking to other kinds of caution. [First half of 1900s]
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