Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “step”

See all translations


verb [I + adv/prep] uk   /step/ (-pp-) us  
B1 to move by lifting your foot and putting it down in a different place, or to put your foot on or in something: She stepped backwards and fell over a chair. They stepped out onto the balcony. Be careful not to step in the mud. Ow, you stepped on my foot! mainly US I'm afraid Mr Taylor has just stepped (= gone) out for a few minutes, but I'll tell him you called. formal Would you care to step this way please, sir?
More examples


noun uk   /step/ us  

step noun (STAGE)

B2 [C] a stage in a process: What's the next step in the programme? We must stay one step ahead of our competitors. Most people believe that the decision to cut interest rates was a step in the right direction. Let's take things a step/one step at a time (= slowly). Following the success of our products in Europe, our logical next step is to move into the American market.B2 [C] an action in a series of actions taken for a particular purpose: The country is taking its first tentative steps towards democracy. We need to take drastic steps to reduce pollution. The president took the unusual step of altering his prepared speech in order to condemn the terrorist attack.step by step C1 dealing with one thing and then another thing in a fixed order: step-by-step instructions Don't worry - I'll go through the procedure with you step by step.
More examples

step noun (STAIR)

B1 [C] one of the surfaces that you walk on when you go up or down stairs: a flight of steps We had to climb some steps to reach the front door. I asked them to leave the parcel on the (front) step (= outside the door to the house). Mind the step as you leave the train. It's difficult for people in wheelchairs to negotiate (= move up and down) steps. One of the steps on the ladder is broken.steps [plural] another word for stepladder : kitchen steps library steps
More examples

step noun (FOOT MOVEMENT)

B1 [C] the act of lifting one foot and putting it down on a different part of the ground, such as when you walk or run: Sophie took her first steps when she was eleven months old. He rose to his feet and took a couple of steps towards her. With every step, her feet hurt her more and more. I retraced my steps, looking for my lost keys.
See also
[C] the distance you cover when you take a step: I'd only gone a few steps down the road when I realized I'd forgotten to lock the door. [U] the way you move your feet when you are walking or running, which can sometimes show how you are feeling: She walked out of the office with a spring in her step (= in a way that showed she was happy). The driver told us to mind/watch our step (= walk carefully) as we got off the bus. [C] a particular movement that you make with your feet when you dance: She's teaching me some basic dance step When people walk in step, they lift their feet off the ground and put them down again at the same time: The soldiers marched in step. used to say that opinions, ideas, or ways of living that are the same as those of other people: Television companies need to keep in step with public opinion.out of step When someone is out of step, they do not lift the same foot and put it down again at the same time as other people: I'm no good at dancing - I always get hopelessly out of step. used to say that opinions, ideas, or ways of living that are different from those of other people: The Republicans are out of step with the country, Williams said. He thinks that everyone is out of step except him.
More examples

step noun (MUSIC)

[C] US ( UK tone) the largest difference in sound between two notes that are next to each other in the western musical scale
(Definition of step verb, noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of step?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “step” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

be as cold as ice

to be extremely cold

Word of the Day

Cleavage proves divisive in Cambridge’s words of 2014

by Alastair Horne,
December 19, 2014
​​​​ Other dictionaries may choose faddish novelties as their words of the year, but here at Cambridge, we like to do something different. We look for the words that have seen sudden surges in searches over the course of the year – words that have been baffling users of English and driven them

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More