Meaning of STEEP in English

I. ˈstēp adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English stepe, from Old English stēap high, steep, deep; akin to Old English stēap cup, Old Frisian stāp steep, Old High German stouf high rock, cup, Middle High German stief steep, Old Norse staup lump, knoll, hole in a road, cup

1. : lofty , tall , elevated , high — used chiefly of a sea

ships steaming into steep head seas — Manual of Seamanship

the elusive periscope almost impossible to detect in such steep seas — Stanley Rogers


a. : making a large angle with the plane of the horizon : having a side or slope approaching the perpendicular : precipitous

steep hills

a steep road

area of cleared, steep ground — Evan Williams

b. of twill : having an angle greater than 45 degrees in the twill line


a. : mounting or falling precipitously : headlong

a steep flight of stairs

b. : characterized by a very rapid decline or increase

the steep but comparatively brief depression — Clark Warburton

the persistently steep fall in immigration — Peter Scott

a period of steep decline in our literary standards — Malcolm Cowley

4. : having precipitious or sharply pitched sides

a steep roof

its steep wooded valleys — R.M.Lockley

5. : difficult to accept, meet, or perform : arduous , extreme , excessive , exorbitant , incredible

a steep story

a steep tax

prices are rather steep

a steep task


abrupt , precipitous , sheer : steep describes a slope or pitch likely to make ascent difficult or descent or fall sharp, rapid, rushing

the trail … then struck up the side of the mountain, growing steeper every foot of the way — H.D.Quillin

a slope of water so steep that it made me giddy — R.L.Stevenson

abrupt may apply to sudden protuberance or declivity, to sharply broken angles or levels

occasionally the hills slope gently to the waterline, but more often the highlands rise into abrupt cliffs — American Guide Series: Minnesota

high abrupt banks in places become hanging cliffs with a drop of 100 feet or more — American Guide Series: North Carolina

precipitous applies to inclines next to impossible to climb by ordinary procedures, to those approaching the perpendicular

a mountainous region, fronting the Pacific, to which it presents, abruptly, a precipitous escarpment — American Guide Series: Oregon

a deep gorge, with precipitous, volcanic walls which no man could scale — Jack London

sheer may suggest an unbroken perpendicular expanse

sheer cliffs that fell from the summit to the plain, more than a thousand feet — Willa Cather

a sheer drop of 224 feet into a pool at the base of an overhanging cliff — American Guide Series: Oregon

II. adverb

: steeply

the cliff rises steep behind it — Edmund Wilson

the roof … was pitched very steep to shed water — American Guide Series: Connecticut

— often used in combination

steep -ascending

III. noun

( -s )

: a precipitous place : a steep ascent or descent : an object having a steep side or slope

too many thickets and swamps and steeps for practical traveling off the roads — G.W.Brace

when the toiling cyclists climbed that steep they had the flat road … in front of them — O.S.J.Gogarty

IV. intransitive verb

Etymology: -ed/-ing/-s

: slope ; especially : to slope abruptly

now the angle of ascent steeped sharply — J.R.Ullman

V. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English stepen; akin to Swedish stöpa to steep, Danish stöbe, and probably to Old English stēap cup — more at steep I

transitive verb


a. : to soak or let stand in a liquid at a temperature under the boiling point (as for the purpose of cleansing, softening, bleaching, extracting a flavor, or germinating) : infuse , macerate

rice grains are usually steeped in a solution of sodium hydroxide

steep coffee

steep barley

b. : to soak (corn kernels) in warm water usually containing a very small amount of sulfur dioxide in the manufacture of starch by the wet milling process

c. : to soak (cellulose pulp) in a dilute solution of sodium hydroxide for the production of alkali cellulose

2. : bathe , wet , immerse , moisten

steeped my wrists and laved my temples — R.L.Stevenson

3. : to saturate thoroughly : imbue

the world was all steeped in sunshine — D.H.Lawrence

a man steeped in the art of the past — Aline B. Saarinen

they continued to steep themselves in the classics — Gilbert Highet

the annals of those steeped in crime — Ellen Smith

intransitive verb

: to undergo the process of soaking in a liquid (as water) under the boiling point

the tea is steeping

rosemary … steeping in vinegar — J.H.Wheelwright

VI. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English stepe, from stepen to steep

1. : the state or process of being steeped

put barley in steep for forty-eight hours

2. : a bath or solution in which something is steeped (as in dyeing or cleansing)

3. : a tank in which a material (as corn or rice) is steeped

the shelled corn is soaked in a steep before milling

the rice starch from the steep is purified

VII. adjective

Etymology: steep (V)

: used for steeping

steep tank

steep tub

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.