Step is an ambiguous word: variety of meanings

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Step is an ambiguous word: variety of meanings
Step is an ambiguous word: variety of meanings

In the Russian language, there are many words that have two or more lexical meanings. They are used in a variety of situations, can have both direct and figurative meaning. In this article, we will talk about just one such ambiguous concept - the word "step". We will indicate all its interpretations, as well as give examples of sentences so that the knowledge gained can be effectively assimilated.

Foot movement

This is the name of the movement of the leg of a person or animal, which allows you to move from one place to another. This is a mechanical movement that makes it possible to move in space.

take a step
  • "The man took a step to the side to clear the way for us."
  • "You can't take a step, things are scattered everywhere, clean the house immediately!"

Sounds caused by foot movement

It is worth noting that in this meaning the word "step" is used only in the plural form - steps.

Examples of phrases: quiet steps, heavy steps, cautious steps, fearful steps, small steps, smooth steps,swift steps.

Now let's make sentences.

  • "Suddenly, there was a sound of jerky footsteps in the darkness."
  • "The shuffling steps belonged to an elderly bread merchant."

Walking mode of transportation or pace

The man is in a hurry

Used only in the singular form. Indicates a way to travel on foot without using any form of transport.

  • "The column slowed down."
  • "We walked at a sporting pace to make it to the meeting on time."

Deed or action

This refers to any action that a person can take: a serious step, a rash step, an adventurous step, a disastrous step, a desperate step, a bold step.

  • "Going into the jungle alone is a bold move, but a foolish one."
  • "I don't understand why you would take such an imprudent step."

A stage in the development of something

Indicates progressive development in some area. In this sense, "step" is a noun that only carries a positive context. It indicates the positive changes that are taking place in various areas of life.

  • "The development of transplantology is a colossal step forward for all medicine."
  • "This was a huge step forward for the development of the economy."

Measure of length

To be more precise, the distance between the feet. This is how they used to measure the distance between objects.

Footsteps in the sand
  • "We paced five meters."
  • "From the department store to the railroad, just two steps."

Two steps is a phraseological unit that indicates a meager distance.

But this phrase can also be used literally: my two steps are about one meter.

Distance between repeating elements of the same type

Imagine a row of identical columns. The distance between two columns is called the pitch.

  • "Need to calculate gear pitch."
  • "The designer needs to know the thread pitch."

Several idioms

Walk up the stairs

It is worth noting that "step" is a concept that is often mentioned in phrases that are considered phraseological units.

With each step - go deep into something or get closer: "Every step got worse."

At every step - everywhere, often: "Surprisingly, at every step you could see cute cafes and restaurants."

Not a step back - a call not to retreat: "Comrades, not a step back, we must make a decisive breakthrough."

Take the first steps - this is how they say about the beginning of any activity: "I am taking my first steps in science."

He won't take a step for the sake of someone or something - a characteristic of a person who does not want to do anything: "Yes, he won't even take a step for you, and you praise him like that!"

Notthey let me take a step - they don’t allow me to act, to work: “Yes, they don’t even let me take a step on my own, they constantly climb with advice!”

Direct steps somewhere - move or go in a certain direction: "We directed our steps towards the forest."

Step by step - at a slow pace, gradually. "The detective was getting closer to solving the mystery, step by step."


Now you know what the meaning of the noun "step" is. The presented speech unit has many interpretations.

You can use them in a variety of contexts. The main thing is to make sure that the noun "step" fits harmoniously into the sentence.

It should also be noted that phraseological units are unacceptable for scientific or business style. You cannot use phrases like "step by step" (i.e. slowly) in scientific treatises or official documents.

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