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(1)   Any maneuver made as part of progress toward a goal
"The situation called for strong measures"
"The police took steps to reduce crime"
(2)   The act of changing location by raising the foot and setting it down
"He walked with unsteady steps"
(3)   A sequence of foot movements that make up a particular dance
"He taught them the waltz step"
(4)   Support consisting of a place to rest the foot while ascending or descending a stairway
"He paused on the bottom step"
(5)   A solid block joined to the beams in which the heel of a ship's mast or capstan is fixed
(6)   A mark of a foot or shoe on a surface
"The police made casts of the footprints in the soft earth outside the window"
(7)   A musical interval of two semitones
(8)   The sound of a step of someone walking
"He heard footsteps on the porch"
(9)   The distance covered by a step
"He stepped off ten paces from the old tree and began to dig"
(10)   A short distance
"It's only a step to the drugstore"
(11)   Relative position in a graded series
"Always a step behind"
"Subtle gradations in color"
"Keep in step with the fashions"


(12)   Move or proceed as if by steps into a new situation
"She stepped into a life of luxury"
"He won't step into his father's footsteps"
(13)   Measure (distances) by pacing
"Step off ten yards"
(14)   Place (a ship's mast) in its step
(15)   Shift or move by taking a step
"Step back"
(16)   Put down or press the foot, place the foot
"For fools rush in where angels fear to tread"
"Step on the brake"
(17)   Walk a short distance to a specified place or in a specified manner
"Step over to the blackboard"
(18)   Move with one's feet in a specific manner
"Step lively"
(19)   Furnish with steps
"The architect wants to step the terrace"
(20)   Treat badly
"This boss abuses his workers"
"She is always stepping on others to get ahead"
(21)   Cause (a computer) to execute a single command


  1. To move the foot in walking; to advance or recede by raising and moving one of the feet to another resting place, or by moving both feet in succession.
  2. To walk; to go on foot; esp., to walk a little distance.
    to step to one of the neighbors
  3. To walk slowly, gravely, or resolutely.
    Home the swain retreats, His flock before him stepping to the fold. - James Thomson
  4. To move mentally; to go in imagination.
    They are stepping almost three thousand years back into the remotest antiquity. - Alexander Pope
  5. To set, as the foot.
  6. To fix the foot of (a mast) in its step; to erect.


  1. An advance or movement made from one foot to the other; a pace.
  2. A rest, or one of a set of rests, for the foot in ascending or descending, as a stair, or a rung of a ladder.
    The breadth of every single step or stair should be never less than one foot. - Sir Henry Wotton
  3. A running board where passengers step to get on and off the bus.
    The driver must have a clear view of the step in order to prevent accidents.
  4. The space passed over by one movement of the foot in walking or running. Used also figuratively of any kind of progress.
    One step is generally about three feet, but may be more or less.
    He improved step by step, or by steps.
    To derive two or three general principles of motion from phenomena, and afterwards to tell us how the properties and actions of all corporeal things follow from those manifest principles, would be a very great step in philosophy. - Isaac Newton
  5. A small space or distance.
    It is but a step.
  6. A print of the foot; a footstep; a footprint; track.
  7. A gait; manner of walking.
    The approach of a man is often known by his step.
  8. Proceeding; measure; action; act.
    The reputation of a man depends on the first steps he makes in the world. - Alexander Pope
    Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day, Live till to-morrow, will have passed away. - William Cowper
    I have lately taken steps . . . to relieve the old gentleman's distresses. - G. W. Cable
  9. A walk; passage.
    Conduct my steps to find the fatal tree. - John Dryden
  10. (plural): A portable framework of stairs, much used indoors in reaching to a high position.
  11. A framing in wood or iron which is intended to receive an upright shaft; specif., a block of wood, or a solid platform upon the keelson, supporting the heel of the mast.
  12. One of a series of offsets, or parts, resembling the steps of stairs, as one of the series of parts of a cone pulley on which the belt runs
  13. A bearing in which the lower extremity of a spindle or a vertical shaft revolves.
  14. The interval between two contiguous degrees of the scale.
    Usage note: The word tone is often used as the name of this interval; but there is evident incongruity in using tone for indicating the interval between tones. As the word scale is derived from the Italian scala, a ladder, the intervals may well be called steps.
  15. A change of position effected by a motion of translation. - William Kingdon Clifford