Meaning of STEP in English


I. step 1 S2 W1 /step/ BrE AmE noun

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: stæpe ]

1 . MOVEMENT [countable] the movement you make when you put one foot in front of or behind the other when walking:

a video of baby’s first steps

He took one step and fell.

step back/forwards/towards etc

Tom took a step back and held the door open.

I had to retrace my steps (=go back the way I came) several times before I found the shop.

2 . ACTION [countable] one of a series of things that you do in order to deal with a problem or to succeed

step in (doing) something

This is the first step in reforming the welfare system.

step to do something

The president took immediate steps to stop the fighting.

step towards

an important step towards peace

3 . IN A PROCESS [countable] a stage in a process, or a position on a scale:

Each book goes up one step in difficulty.

Record your result, and go on to step 3.

step in

the next step in the process

Drug companies influence the scientific process every step of the way (=during every stage) .

Describe step by step (=describing each stage) how you went about achieving your goal.

Moving to Cottage Grove represented a definite step up (=something that is better than you had before) for my parents.

He saw the job as a step down (=something that is worse than he had before) .

4 .

STAIR [countable] a flat narrow piece of wood or stone, especially one in a series, that you put your foot on when you are going up or down, especially outside a building:

Jenny sat on the step in front of the house, waiting.

He climbed the wooden steps and rang the bell.

a flight of (=set of) broad stone steps

⇨ ↑ doorstep 1 (1)

5 . DISTANCE [countable] the short distance you move when you take a step while walking SYN pace :

Roy was standing only a few steps away.

6 . SOUND [countable] the sound you make when you put your foot down while walking SYN footstep :

I heard a step in the corridor.

7 . DANCING [countable] a movement of your feet in dancing:

the steps for the Charleston

8 . in step

a) having ideas or actions that are like those of other people

in step with

He isn’t in step with ordinary voters.

b) moving your feet so that your right foot goes forward at the same time as people you are walking with

9 . out of step

a) having ideas or actions that are different from those of other people

out of step with

This type of training is out of step with changes in the industry.

b) moving your feet in a different way from people you are walking with

10 . watch your step ( also mind your step British English )

a) to be careful about what you say or how you behave:

You’d better watch your step – he’s the boss here.

b) to be careful when you are walking:

Mind your step – the railing’s loose.

11 . fall into step (with somebody)

a) to start walking beside someone at the same speed as them:

Maggie fell into step beside her.

b) to start thinking or doing the same as other people:

The administration has fallen into step with its European allies on this issue.

12 . be/keep/stay one step ahead (of somebody)

a) to be better prepared for something or know more about something than someone else:

A good teacher is always at least one step ahead of his students.

b) to manage not to be caught by someone who is trying to find or catch you

13 . WAY SOMEBODY WALKS [countable usually singular] the way someone walks, which often tells you how they are feeling:

Gianni’s usual bouncy step

14 . steps [plural] British English a ↑ stepladder

15 . EXERCISE [uncountable] a type of exercise you do by walking onto and off a flat piece of equipment around 15–30 ↑ centimetre s high:

a step class

16 . MUSIC [countable] American English the difference in ↑ pitch between two musical notes that are separated by one ↑ key on the piano SYN tone British English

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ verbs

▪ take a step

The authority will take steps to reunite the child and his family.

■ adjectives

▪ an important/major/big step

The move is seen as a major step forward for UK firms.

▪ the first step

The first step in resolving conflict is to understand what the other person wants.

▪ the next step

He met in Washington with his campaign advisers to plan his next step.

▪ a small step

This is a small step in the right direction.

▪ a positive step (=an action that will have a good effect)

This is a positive step which gives cause for some optimism.

▪ an unusual/unprecedented step (=something that is not usually done/has never been done before)

Police last night took the unusual step of releasing photographs of him.

▪ a drastic step

The government is wary of taking any drastic steps that would scare off foreign investment.

▪ a bold step

We welcome the bold step taken by President Bush.

▪ a tentative step (=a small action, which is not done in a very determined way)

The Institute has taken a tentative step towards opening up its meetings to the public.

▪ a logical step

She felt she had an aptitude for medicine. Her next logical step would be to begin studying when the summer was over.

▪ immediate steps

We believe immediate steps could be taken to generate jobs.

▪ reasonable steps

They must take reasonable steps to ensure that this information is available to those who might benefit.

▪ necessary steps

We must be sure that we are taking the necessary steps to prevent the problem from getting a foothold here.

■ phrases

▪ a step forward (=an action that makes things better)

The declaration which we have just signed is a big step forward for both of our nations.

▪ a step backwards/a backward step (=an action that makes things worse)

A rationing system would be a major step backwards.

▪ a step in the right direction (=an action that helps to improve things)

Environmentalists said the law was a step in the right direction.

II. step 2 S3 W3 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle stepped , present participle stepping ) [intransitive always + adverb/preposition]

1 . to raise one foot and put it down in front of or behind the other one in order to walk or move

step forward/back/down/into etc

He stepped back to let me through.

I stepped outside and closed the door.

Mr. Ives? Please step this way (=walk in the direction I am showing you) .

2 . to bring your foot down on something SYN tread British English

step in/on etc

I accidentally stepped in a puddle.

You’re stepping on my foot.

3 . step on sb’s toes to offend or upset someone, especially by trying to do their work:

I’m not worried about stepping on anybody’s toes.

4 . step out of line to behave badly by breaking rules or disobeying orders

5 . step on it ( also step on the gas American English ) spoken to drive faster

⇨ step into the breach at ↑ breach 1 (7)

step down ( also step aside ) phrasal verb

to leave your job or official position, because you want to or because you think you should:

Morris should step aside until the investigation is completed.

step down as

Eve Johnson has stepped down as chairperson.

step down from

He was forced to step down from his post.

step forward phrasal verb

to come and offer help, information etc:

Police are appealing for witnesses to step forward.

step in phrasal verb

to become involved in an activity, discussion, or disagreement, sometimes in order to stop trouble SYN intervene :

The military may step in if the crisis continues.

Parents have stepped in to provide homework help in the afternoon program.

step into something phrasal verb

to start doing something, or become involved in a situation:

Sally stepped into the role of team leader.

step out phrasal verb

to leave your home or office for a short time SYN pop out British English :

She’s just stepped out for a few minutes.

step up phrasal verb

1 . step something ↔ up to increase the amount of an activity or the speed of a process in order to improve a situation:

The health department is stepping up efforts to reduce teenage smoking.

stepped-up security at airports

2 . ( also step up to the plate ) especially American English to agree to help someone or to be responsible for doing something:

Residents will have to step up if they want to rid this area of crime.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.