Dictionary: STEM – STEP

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STEM, v.t.

  1. To oppose or resist, as a current; or to make progress against a current. We say, the ship was not able with all her sails to stem the tide. They stem the flood with their erected breasts. – Denham.
  2. To stop; to check; as a stream or moving force. At length Erasmus, that great injur'd name, / Stemm'd the wild torrent of a barb'rous age, / And drove those holy Vandals off the stage. – Pope.


Embracing the stem with its base; amplexicaul; as, a leaf or petiole. – Martyn.


A leaf growing from the stem. – Martyn.


Having no stem.


Opposed, as a current; stopped.


Opposing, as a stream; stopping.


In mining, a cross bar of wood in a shaft. – Encyc.

STENCH, n. [Sax. stenc, stencg. See Stink.]

An ill smell; offensive odor. – Bacon.

STENCH, v.t.

  1. To cause to emit a hateful smell. [Not in use.] – Mortimer.
  2. To stanch; to stop. [Not in use.] Harvey.


Having an offensive smell. [Not in use.] – Dyer.


A piece of thin leather or oil cloth used in painting paper hangings.


  1. To paint or color in figures with stencils. – Encyc.
  2. To paint by having the pattern cut out of a thin material and applied to the surface to be painted; the brush being applied to the stencil permits the interstices alone to be painted.

STEN'E-O-SAU-RUS, n. [Gr. στενος, narrow, strait, and σαύρα, a lizard.]

A genus of saurians, whose fossil remains only are found.

STE-NOG'RA-PHER, n. [Gr. στενος, close, narrow, and γραφω, to write.]

One who is skilled in the art of short-hand writing.


Pertaining to the art of writing in short hand; expressing in characters or short hand.

STE-NOG'RA-PHY, n. [supra.]

The art of writing in short hand by using abbreviations or characters for whole words. Encyc.

STENT, n. [or v. for Stint. See Stint.]

STEN'TOR, n. [Gr. στεντωρ.]

A person having a very powerful voice.

STEN-TO'RI-AN, a. [from Stentor.]

  1. Extremely loud; as, a stentorian voice.
  2. Able to utter a very loud sound; as, stentorian lungs.

STEN-TO-RO-PHON'IC, a. [from Stentor, a herald in Homer, whose voice was as loud as that of fifty other men, and Gr. φωνη, voice.]

Speaking or sounding very loud. Of this stentorophonic horn of Alexander there is a figure preserved in the Vatican. – Derham.

STEP, a. [Sax. steop, from stepan, to deprive, is prefixed to certain words to express a relation by marriage. In the explication of step, I have followed Lye. The D. and G. write stief, and the Swedes styf, before the name; a word which does not appear to be connected with any verb signifying to bereave, and the word is not without some difficulties. I have given the explanation which appears to be most probably correct. If the radical sense of step, a pace, is to part or open, the word coincides with Sax. stepan, to deprive, and in the compounds below, step may imply removal or distance. See STEPBROTHER, STEPCHILD, STEPDAME, STEPDAUGHTER, STEPFATHER, STEPMOTHER, STEPSISTER, STEPSON.]

STEP, n. [Sax. stæp; D. stap; G. stufe; W. tap, a ledge; tapiaw, to form a step or ledge.]

  1. A pace; an advance or movement made by one removal of the foot.
  2. One remove in ascending or descending; a stair. The breadth of every single step or stair should be never less than one foot. – Wotton.
  3. The space passed by the foot in walking or running. The step of one foot is generally five feet; it may be more or less.
  4. A small space or distance. Let us go to the gardens; it is but a step.
  5. The distance between the feet in walking or running.
  6. Gradation; degree. We advance in improvement step by step, or by steps.
  7. Progression; act of advancing. To derive two or three general principles of motion from phenomena, and afterward tell us how the properties and actions of all corporeal things follow from those manifest principles, would be a great step in philosophy. – Newton.
  8. Footstep; print or impression of the foot; track. – Dryden.
  9. Gait; manner of walking. The approach of a man is often known by his step.
  10. Proceeding; measure; action. The reputation of a man depends on the first steps he makes in the world. – Pope.
  11. The round of a ladder.
  12. Steps in the plural, walk; passage. Conduct my steps to find the fatal tree / In this deep forest. – Dryden.
  13. Pieces of timber in which the foot of a mast is fixed.
  14. The bottom support on which the lower end of an upright shaft or wheel rests. – Haldiman.


In Russ., an uncultivated desert of large extent. – Tooke. [This sense of the Russian word is naturally deducible from Sax. stepan, to deprive, infra.]

STEP, v.i. [Sax. stæppan, steppan; D. stappen; Gr. στειβω, Qu. Russ. stopa, the foot. The sense is to set, as the foot, or more probably to open or part, to stretch or extend.]

  1. To move the foot; to advance or recede by a movement of the foot or feet; as, to step forward, or to step backward.
  2. To go; to walk a little distance; as, to step to one of the neighbors.
  3. To walk gravely, slowly or resolutely. Home the swain retreats, / His flock before him stepping to the fold. – Thomson. To step forth, to move or come forth. – Cowley. To step aside, to walk to a little distance; to retire from company. To step in or into, to walk or advance into a place or state or to advance suddenly in. John v. #2. To enter for a short time. I just stepped into the house. #3. To obtain possession without trouble; to enter upon suddenly; as, to step into an estate. To step back, to move mentally; to carry the mind back. They are stepping almost three thousand years back into the remotest antiquity. – Pope.

STEP, v.t.

  1. To set, as the foot.
  2. To fix the foot of a mast in the keel; to erect. – Mar. Dict.