step back meaning, step back definition | English Cobuild dictionary



  ( steps    plural & 3rd person present)   ( stepping    present participle)   ( stepped    past tense & past participle  )
1       n-count   If you take a step, you lift your foot and put it down in a different place, for example when you are walking.  
I took a step towards him..., She walked on a few steps..., He heard steps in the corridor.     
2       verb   If you stepon something or step in a particular direction, you put your foot on the thing or move your foot in that direction.  
This was the moment when Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the Moon...      V prep/adv  
She accidentally stepped on his foot on a crowded commuter train...      V prep/adv  
3       n-count   Steps are a series of surfaces at increasing or decreasing heights, on which you put your feet in order to walk up or down to a different level.  
This little room was along a passage and down some steps..., A flight of stone steps leads to the terrace.     
4       n-count   A step is a raised flat surface in front of a door.  
A little girl was sitting on the step of the end house...     
5       n-count   A step is one of a series of actions that you take in order to achieve something.  
oft N prep/adv  
He greeted the agreement as the first step towards peace..., She is not content with her present lot and wishes to take steps to improve it...     
6       n-count   A step in a process is one of a series of stages.   (=stage)  
The next step is to put the theory into practice...     
7       n-count   The steps of a dance are the sequences of foot movements which make it up.   (=movement)  
8       n-sing   Someone's step is the way they walk.  
poss N  
He quickened his step...     
9    If you stay one step ahead of someone or something, you manage to achieve more than they do or avoid competition or danger from them.  
one step ahead of      phrase   PHR after v, v-link PHR  
Successful travel is partly a matter of keeping one step ahead of the crowd...     
10    If people who are walking or dancing are in step, they are moving their feet forward at exactly the same time as each other. If they are out of step, their feet are moving forward at different times.  
in/out of step             phrase   PHR after v  
They were almost the same height and they moved perfectly in step...     
11    If people are in stepwith each other, their ideas or opinions are the same. If they are out of stepwith each other, their ideas or opinions are different.  
in/out of step      phrase   usu PHR with n  
Moscow is anxious to stay in step with Washington...     
12    If you tell someone to step on it, you are telling them to go faster or hurry up.  
step on it      phrase   (=get a move on)  
We've only got thirty-five minutes so step on it.     
13    If you do something step by step, you do it by progressing gradually from one stage to the next.  
step by step      phrase   PHR with v, PHR n  
I am not rushing things and I'm taking it step by step..., Follow our simple step-by-step instructions.     
14    If someone tells you to watch your step, they are warning you to be careful about how you behave or what you say so that you do not get into trouble.  
watch your step      phrase   step aside  
    step down   step back      phrasal verb   If you step back and think about a situation, you think about it as if you were not involved in it.   (=stand back)  
I stepped back and analysed the situation...      V P  
It was necessary to step back from the project and look at it as a whole.      V P from n   step down   , step aside      phrasal verb   If someone steps down or steps aside, they resign from an important job or position, often in order to let someone else take their place.   (=stand down)  
Judge Ito said that if his wife was called as a witness, he would step down as trial judge...      V P as n  
Many would prefer to see him step aside in favour of a younger man.      V P   step in      phrasal verb   If you step in, you get involved in a difficult situation because you think you can or should help with it.   (=intervene)  
There are circumstances in which the State must step in to protect children.      V P   step out      phrasal verb   If someone steps outof a role or situation, they leave it.  
I don't regret stepping out of the security of marriage.      V P of n, Also V P   step up      phrasal verb   If you step up something, you increase it or increase its intensity.   (=increase)  
He urged donors to step up their efforts to send aid to Somalia...      V P n (not pron)  
Translation English - Cobuild Collins Dictionary  



1    footfall, footprint, footstep, gait, impression, pace, print, stride, trace, track, walk  
2    act, action, deed, expedient, manoeuvre, means, measure, move, procedure, proceeding  
3    take steps      act, intervene, move in, prepare, take action, take measures, take the initiative  
4    advance, advancement, move, phase, point, process, progression, stage  
5    degree, level, rank, remove  
6    doorstep, round, rung, stair, tread  
7    in step      coinciding, conforming, in agreement, in conformity, in harmony, in line, in unison  
8    out of step      erratic, incongruous, in disagreement, out of harmony, out of line, out of phase, pulling different ways  
9    watch one's step      be canny, be careful, be cautious, be discreet, be on one's guard, have one's wits about one, look out, mind how one goes, mind one's p's and q's, take care, take heed, tread carefully  
10    move, pace, tread, walk  

step down     
abdicate, bow out, give up, hand over, leave, pull out, quit, resign, retire  
step in     
become involved, chip in     (informal)   intercede, intervene, take action, take a hand  
step up     
accelerate, augment, boost, escalate, increase, intensify, raise, speed up, up  

English Collins Dictionary - English synonyms & Thesaurus  

Collaborative Dictionary     English Cobuild
adopt a detached attitude; relax
a lot; very much; in a great quantity; endlessly
[Fig.] E.g. love someone to the moon and back=love someone very much
(colloquially) tattoo on the lower back
acronym for Let Me Know, as to ask the other party to get back to you


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"Collins Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners 4th edition published in 2003 © HarperCollins Publishers 1987, 1995, 2001, 2003 and Collins A-Z Thesaurus 1st edition first published in 1995 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995"