1an act or movement of putting one leg in front of the other in walking or running:Ron took a step backshe turned and retraced her steps
the distance covered by a step:Richard came a couple of steps nearer
[usually in singular] a person’s particular way of walking:she left the room with a springy step
each of the sequences of movement of the feet which make up a dance.
a short or easily walked distance:the market is only a short step from the lake
2a flat surface, especially one in a series, on which to place one’s foot when moving from one level to another:the bottom step of the staircasea flight of marble steps
a doorstep:there was a pint of milk on the step
a rung of a ladder.
(steps or a pair of steps)British a stepladder:the steps are in the outhouse
[mass noun] step aerobics: [as modifier]:a step class
Climbing a foothold cut in a slope of ice.
3a measure or action, especially one of a series taken in order to deal with or achieve a particular thing:the government must take steps to discourage age discriminationa major step forward in the fight against terrorism
a stage in a gradual process:sales are up, which is a step in the right direction
a particular position or grade on an ascending or hierarchical scale:the first step on the managerial ladder
4 Music, North American an interval in a scale; a tone (whole step) or semitone (half step).
5 Physics an abrupt change in the value of a quantity, especially voltage.
6a block fixed to a boat’s keel in order to take the base of a mast or other fitting.
1 [no object, with adverbial] lift and set down one’s foot or one foot after the other in order to walk somewhere or move to a new position:Claudia tried to step backI accidentally stepped on his foot
[as imperative] used as a polite or deferential way of asking someone to walk a short distance for a particular purpose:please step this way
(step it) dated perform a dance:they stepped it down the room between the lines of dancers
take a particular course of action:he stepped out of retirement to answer an SOS call from his old club
2 [with object] Nautical set up (a mast) in its step.
stop walking or marching in step with others:they walked past me without even breaking step
fall into step
change the way one is walking so that one is walking in step with another person:Paul fell into step beside Bill
in (or out of) step
putting (or not putting) one’s feet forward alternately in the same rhythm as the people one is walking, marching, or dancing with.
conforming (or not conforming) to what others are doing or thinking:the party is clearly out of step with voters
Physics (of two or more oscillations or other cyclic phenomena) having (or not having) the same frequency and always in the same phase:many oscillations trace out the same pattern but necessarily in step
follow (or tread) in someone's steps
do as someone else did, especially in making a journey or following a career:many of these youngsters hoped to follow in the steps of Gascoigne
remain walking, marching, or dancing in step:they marched up and down the parade ground, keeping step with the regimental band
mind (or watch) one's step
used as a warning to someone to walk or act carefully:you’d better watch your step with him—he’s not as innocent as he looksmind your step—the path’s a bit steep
one step ahead
managing to avoid competition or danger from someone or something:I try to keep one step ahead of the rest of the staff
step by step
so as to progress gradually and carefully from one stage to the next:I’ll explain it to you step by step [as modifier]:a step-by-step guide