Etymology: Middle English, from Old English stæpe; akin to Old High German stapfo step, stampfōn to stamp
Date: before 12th century
1. a rest for the foot in ascending or descending: as
a. one of a series of structures consisting of a riser and a tread
b. a ladder rung
(1) an advance or movement made by raising the foot and bringing it down elsewhere
(2) a combination of foot or foot and body movements constituting a unit or a repeated pattern <a dance step> (3) manner of walking ; stride b. footprint 1 c. the sound of a footstep <heard steps in the hall> 3. a. the space passed over in one step b. a short distance <just a step away from the bank> c. the height of one stair 4. plural course, way <directed his steps toward the river> 5. a. a degree, grade, or rank in a scale b. a stage in a process <was guided through every step of my career> 6. a frame on a ship designed to receive an upright shaft; especially a block supporting the heel of a mast 7. an action, proceeding, or measure often occurring as one in a series <taking steps to improve the situation> 8. a steplike offset or part usually occurring in a series 9. an interval in a musical scale 10. step aerobics 11. a slight lead in or as if in a race <has a step on the competition> • steplike adjective • stepped adjective II. verb (stepped; stepping) Date: before 12th century intransitive verb 1. a. to move by raising the foot and bringing it down elsewhere or by moving each foot in succession b. dance 2. a. to go on foot ; walk b. obsolete advance, proceed c. to be on one's way ; leave — often used with along d. to move briskly <kept us stepping> 3. to press down with the foot <step on the brake> 4. to come as if at a single step <stepped into a good job> transitive verb 1. to take by moving the feet in succession <step three paces> 2. a. to move (the foot) in any direction ; set <the first man to step foot on the moon> <hasn't stepped foot in our house since the quarrel> b. to traverse on foot 3. to go through the steps of ; perform <step a minuet> 4. to make erect by fixing the lower end in a step <step the mast> 5. to measure by steps <step off 50 yards> 6. a. to provide with steps b. to make steps in <step a key> 7. to construct or arrange in or as if in steps <craggy peaks with terraces stepped up the sides — Time>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.