The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Step \Step\, n. [AS. staepe. See Step, v. i.]
1. An advance or movement made by one removal of the foot; a
2. A rest, or one of a set of rests, for the foot in
ascending or descending, as a stair, or a round of a
The breadth of every single step or stair should be
never less than one foot. --Sir H.
3. The space passed over by one movement of the foot in
walking or running; as, one step is generally about three
feet, but may be more or less. Used also figuratively of
any kind of progress; as, he improved step by step, or by
To derive two or three general principles of motion
from phenomena, and afterwards to tell us how the
properties and actions of all corporeal things
follow from those manifest principles, would be a
very great step in philosophy. --Sir I.
4. A small space or distance; as, it is but a step.
5. A print of the foot; a footstep; a footprint; track.
6. Gait; manner of walking; as, the approach of a man is
often known by his step.
7. Proceeding; measure; action; an act.
The reputation of a man depends on the first steps
he makes in the world. --Pope.
Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day,
Live till to-morrow, will have passed away.
I have lately taken steps . . . to relieve the old
gentleman's distresses. --G. W. Cable.
8. pl. Walk; passage.
Conduct my steps to find the fatal tree. --Dryden.
9. pl. A portable framework of stairs, much used indoors in
reaching to a high position.
10. (Naut.) In general, a framing in wood or iron which is
intended to receive an upright shaft; specif., a block of
wood, or a solid platform upon the keelson, supporting
the heel of the mast.
(a) One of a series of offsets, or parts, resembling the
steps of stairs, as one of the series of parts of a
cone pulley on which the belt runs.
(b) A bearing in which the lower extremity of a spindle
or a vertical shaft revolves.
12. (Mus.) The intervak between two contiguous degrees of the
Note: The word tone is often used as the name of this
interval; but there is evident incongruity in using
tone for indicating the interval between tones. As the
word scale is derived from the Italian scala, a ladder,
the intervals may well be called steps.
13. (Kinematics) A change of position effected by a motion of
translation. --W. K. Clifford.
14. (Fives) At Eton College, England, a shallow step dividing
the court into an inner and an outer portion.
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]
Back step, Half step, etc. See under Back, Half, etc.
Step grate, a form of grate for holding fuel, in which the
bars rise above one another in the manner of steps.
To take steps, to take action; to move in a matter.