step noun

1 in walking, running, etc.

ADJ. large, small | heavy, light | quick, slow | hesitant | involuntary I gasped and took an involuntary step backwards. | careful | unsteady

VERB + STEP go, take He'd only gone a few steps, when he realized he'd left his wallet behind. | retrace You might find your ticket if you retrace your steps back to the car.

PREP. ~ (away) from She was only a step away from the cliff edge. | ~ towards He took a hesitant step towards her.

PHRASES a spring in your step I had a spring in my step when I walked into that office for the last time. | a step ahead/behind He lagged a few steps behind. | a step back/backwards/forward/sideways, a step closer/nearer, with each/every step He grew fainter with every step.

2 in dancing

ADJ. dance | jive, tango, etc.

VERB + STEP execute, perform He executed some jive steps on the pavement. | learn | keep in She had trouble keeping in step.

PREP. in ~, out of ~ (with) He was out of step with the music.

3 action taken in order to achieve sth

ADJ. big, considerable, giant, huge, massive | small | critical, crucial, decisive, essential, great, important, key, major, vital | first, initial, preliminary | final, last | additional, further, next What's the next step? | logical, necessary, reasonable We shall take all necessary steps to prevent public disorder. | active | forward, positive | backward, retrograde The new law is seen by many as a backward step. | bold, brave, reckless | dramatic, drastic, extraordinary, rare, unprecedented, unusual | irreversible, irrevocable It suddenly struck her that having a baby was an irrevocable step. | careful, precautionary | faltering, tentative They have taken their first tentative steps towards democracy. | practical | welcome | immediate, urgent I shall take immediate steps to have this matter put right. | false One false step could mean disaster.

VERB + STEP go, make, take | follow If you follow all the steps, nothing will go wrong.

PREP. ~ in The move was a first step in establishing a union. | ~ to/towards The talks mark a step towards peace.

PHRASES bring sth/be/come/move a step closer/nearer (to sth) Greece moved a step closer to the World Cup finals with last night's win. | a short step from/to sth It's only a short step from this disorder to complete chaos. | a step back/backwards/forward The offer constitutes a considerable step forward. | step by step a step-by-step guide to setting up an aquarium | a step further If he goes one step further with this crazy idea, I'll resign. | a step in the right direction The new speed limit does not solve the problem, but it is a step in the right direction. | a step on the road/way to sth

4 on stairs, a ladder, etc.

ADJ. bottom, top

VERB + STEP mind Mind the step!

PREP. on a/the ~ She paused on the top step.

PHRASES a step down/up There are three steps down to the garden.

5 steps: set of steps

ADJ. front | back | outside

QUANT. flight You have to go up four flights of steps to get up to the roof.

VERB + STEP ascend, climb, go/run, etc. up, mount She went up a flight of steps to the side entrance. | descend, go/run, etc. down

STEP + VERB lead to sth The front steps lead to an enormous terrace.

PREP. ~ (down/up) to the steps down to the pool

PHRASES the bottom/foot/top of the steps