There are 2 main definitions of step in in English:

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step in 1

1Become involved in a difficult or problematic situation, especially in order to help or prevent something from happening.
Example sentences
  • It really is time that city hall stepped in to try and salvage the situation!
  • By Saturday of last week local African Caribbean churches had stepped in to try to calm the situation down.
  • A while ago I was involved in an incident where I stepped in to help someone who was being spat at by a racist.
intervene, intercede, involve oneself, become/get involved, take a hand
1.1Act as a substitute for someone: Lucy stepped in at very short notice to take Joan’s place
More example sentences
  • Neither bothered to turn up and the business editor stepped in to do an admirable job as a late substitute.
  • Blindside flanker Jim Nicholson is out through injury, so natural replacement Duncan Phillips steps in.
stand in, sit in, fill in, cover, substitute, take over;
replace, take someone's place
informal sub
See parent entry: step
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There are 2 main definitions of step in in English:

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step-in 2

Pronunciation: /ˈstepˌin/


Denoting a garment or pair of shoes that is put on by being stepped into and has no need for fasteners.
Example sentences
  • First came her feet in elegant high heeled black step-in sandals.
  • The old, slotted cleats and soft leather cycling shoes allowed feet quite a bit of movement, but the newer step-in cleats and more rigid shoes with a heel counter locked feet in one position.


1A pair of step-in shoes; slip-ons.
Example sentences
  • I finally settled on my navy-blue knitted top and well-worn denims paired with my serviceable step-ins.
2 dated, chiefly North American A pair of women’s panties.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: step-in

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