—n. 1. 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.
2. such a movement followed by a movement of equal distance of the other foot: The soldier took one step forward and stood at attention. 3. the space passed over or the distance measured by one such movement of the foot.
4. the sound made by the foot in making such a movement.
5. a mark or impression made by the foot on the ground; footprint.
6. the manner of walking; gait; stride.
7. pace in marching: double-quick step. 8. a pace uniform with that of another or others, or in time with music.
9. steps,movements or course in walking or running: to retrace one's steps. 10. 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. 11. rank, degree, or grade, as on a vertical scale.
12. a support for the foot in ascending or descending: a step of a ladder; a stair of 14 steps. 13. a very short distance: She was never more than a step away from her children. 14. a repeated pattern or unit of movement in a dance formed by a combination of foot and body motions.
15. Music. a. a degree of the staff or of the scale.
b. the interval between two adjacent scale degrees; second. Cf. semitone, whole step. 16. steps,Brit.a stepladder.
17. an offset part of anything.
18. Naut.a socket, frame, or platform for supporting the lower end of a mast.
19. Mining.a flat-topped ledge on the face of a quarry or a mine working.
20. 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. 21. in step, a. moving in time to a rhythm or with the corresponding step of others.
b. in harmony or conformity with: They are not in step with the times. 22. keep step, to keep pace; stay in step: The construction of classrooms and the training of teachers have not kept step with population growth. 23. out of step, a. not in time to a rhythm or corresponding to the step of others.
b. not in harmony or conformity with: They are out of step with the others in their group. 24. step by step, a. from one stage to the next in sequence.
b. gradually and steadily: We were shown the steelmaking process step by step. 25. take steps, to set about putting something into operation; begin to act: I will take steps to see that your application is processed. 26. watch one's step, to proceed with caution; behave prudently: If she doesn't watch her step, she will be fired from her job.
—v.i. 1. 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. 2. to walk, or go on foot, esp. for a few strides or a short distance: Step over to the bar. 3. to move with measured steps, as in a dance.
4. to go briskly or fast, as a horse.
5. 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. 6. to put the foot down; tread by intention or accident: to step on a cat's tail. 7. to press with the foot, as on a lever, spring, or the like, in order to operate some mechanism.
—v.t. 1. to take (a step, pace, stride, etc.).
2. to go through or perform the steps of (a dance).
3. to move or set (the foot) in taking a step.
4. to measure (a distance, ground, etc.) by steps (sometimes fol. by off or out).
5. to make or arrange in the manner of a series of steps.
6. Naut.to fix (a mast) in its step.
7. step down, a. to lower or decrease by degrees.
b. 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. 8. 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. 9. 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. 10. step out, a. to leave a place, esp. for a brief period of time.
b. to walk or march at a more rapid pace.
c. to go out to a social gathering or on a date: We're stepping out tonight. 11. step up, a. to raise or increase by degrees: to step up production. b. to be promoted; advance.
c. to make progress; improve.
a prefix denoting connection between members of a family by the remarriage of a parent and not by blood: stepbrother.