Step vs. Steppe

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Step and steppe are two words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will look at the definitions of step and steppe, where the words come from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Step means to pick up one foot and place it in another position, transferring one’s weight in order to move through space, the distance covered by picking up one’s foot and placing it in another position or the sound of this action. Step may also mean one’s gait as well as the sequence of foot movements in a dance. Step is also used figuratively to mean one in a sequence of actions. Step is used as a noun or a verb, related words are steps, stepped, stepping. Step is derived from the Old English words steppan and stæppan.

Steppe describes a large, treeless grassland, usually referring to areas in southeast Europe or Siberia. The plural is steppes. The word steppe is borrowed from the German word steppe and the Russian word step.


The first step involves the opening of seven clinics, including dermatology, neurology and dental services, in the new Oishei Children’s Outpatient Center in the Conventus building at 1001 Main St. (The Buffalo News)

That would be very unfortunate, not only because it would signal to Melanie that you cannot speak for yourself, but also because it would prevent you from the incredible learning that stepping out of your comfort zone provides. (Forbefs Magazine)

The steppe bison is thought to have become extinct in the early Holocene – a period that started 11,700 years ago – after having roamed the steppes of western and eastern Europe, Central Asia, Japan and north-west Canada. (The International Business Times)

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