Etymology: Middle English stepe, from Old English stēap high, steep, deep; akin to Old Frisian stāp steep, Middle High German stief — more at stoop
Date: before 12th century
1. lofty, high — used chiefly of a sea
2. making a large angle with the plane of the horizon
a. mounting or falling precipitously <the stairs were very steep> b. being or characterized by a rapid and intensive decline or increase 4. extremely or excessively high <steep prices> • steepish adjective • steeply adverb • steepness noun Synonyms: steep, abrupt, precipitous, sheer mean having an incline approaching the perpendicular. steep implies such sharpness of pitch that ascent or descent is very difficult <a steep hill> <a steep dive>. abrupt implies a sharper pitch and a sudden break in the level <a beach with an abrupt drop-off>. precipitous applies to an incline approaching the vertical <the river winds through a precipitous gorge>. sheer suggests an unbroken perpendicular expanse <sheer cliffs that daunted the climbers>. II. noun Date: 1555 a precipitous place III. verb Etymology: Middle English stepen Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. to soak in a liquid at a temperature under the boiling point (as for softening, bleaching, or extracting an essence) 2. to cover with or plunge into a liquid (as in bathing, rinsing, or soaking) 3. to saturate with or subject thoroughly to (some strong or pervading influence) <practices steeped in tradition> intransitive verb to undergo the process of soaking in a liquid Synonyms: see soak • steeper noun IV. noun Date: 15th century 1. the state or process of being steeped 2. a bath or solution in which something is steeped
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.