Definition of sidestep in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Avoid (someone or something) by stepping sideways.

    ‘as she walked she sidestepped the many cracks in the pavement’
    • ‘Effortlessly sidestepping a wayward javelin, the Grand Master leapt into the fray, landing with such force that several Serpent-Men were sent sprawling backwards.’
    • ‘Philip lunged once more and Caleb merely sidestepped his advance, sustaining a minor hit but nothing like he first endured.’
    • ‘There she was, walking towards me down the hall, taking the effort to sidestep a few people she would usually probably have pushed between the middle of, and slowing her steps as she approached me, making me do the same.’
    • ‘Too crabby and distracted to pay attention to where he's walking, Greg barely manages to sidestep a pair of nurses wheeling a gurney down the hall.’
    • ‘Brunton calmly sidestepped out the way, and lifted up his hand, palm out.’
    • ‘‘I'd rather walk,’ I responded curtly, sidestepping him and hurrying for the door.’
    • ‘She sidesteps away as the two crash into each other.’
    • ‘‘Apparently not,’ he said, sidestepping her and walking past her.’
    • ‘I run down Courtenay Place, sidestepping someone as I swerve at speed onto Taranaki Street, passing the doctor's and the florist and leaping across the road beside the bookstore.’
    • ‘Ilivdorl charged ahead, but Valdaer, a master of combat, sidestepped the attack, though he winced as he stepped on his injured leg.’
    • ‘Foreign arrivals last summer were obliged to duck under scaffolding and sidestep earsplitting riveters and sandblasters in order to reach a makeshift passport control desk.’
    • ‘Quickly, he sidesteps the form and continues on another few steps before he finds himself inexplicably stopped and staring up in to the rain.’
    • ‘She screeched to a halt so abruptly that he nearly crashed into her, settling for merely sidestepping out of the way instead.’
    • ‘He waved his hand impatiently as he quickly sidestepped the waterfall and walked briskly down the shaded stone path.’
    • ‘Pedestrians are required to be agile and be able to sidestep all obstacles that they will encounter whilst walking.’
    • ‘He began walking towards me again and this time I sidestepped him entirely.’
    • ‘A clot of the former were self-consciously sipping absinthe at the bar on the ground floor, so I sidestepped them and ascended the short flight of steps to the dining room above.’
    • ‘I tried to bolt, sidestepping Maxim's frail attempts to stop me and opening the lock as I had the last time.’
    • ‘Buttons on the cane's handle vibrate gently to warn a user to dodge low ceilings and sidestep objects blocking their path.’
    • ‘He remains one of the league's top ballcarriers, a player who can beat defenders by lowering his shoulder or sidestepping them.’
    1. 1.1 Avoid dealing with or discussing (something problematic or disagreeable)
      ‘he neatly sidestepped the questions about riots’
      • ‘Despite its potential to broach the complex issue of integration to a mainstream audience, Radio manages to neatly sidestep all of the problems that typically plague students with disabilities.’
      • ‘And with a succinct bow, he sidestepped to avoid further questioning and briskly started for the other side of the garden.’
      • ‘The debate can't be sidestepped by saying that whenever A disagrees with B, we should compromise by going with B's position.’
      • ‘At the same time, she deftly sidesteps the temptation of the Oriental picturesque, to which numerous other authors on this subject have succumbed.’
      • ‘And getting together for tea neatly sidesteps the tricky business-lunch question of whether it's appropriate to drink.’
      • ‘The fact that a rise in rail users reflects increasing frustration with the roads is neatly sidestepped.’
      • ‘Will Baude speaks to the constitutional questions, which I sidestepped in my column in favor of more directly normative ones.’
      • ‘While the ‘full coverage’ approach to an opening is preferred, Watson sidesteps many of the general problems that arise with this more limiting repertoire approach.’
      • ‘The abstraction of most of the visuals neatly sidesteps the often glaringly obvious lack of ideas in more figurative work at the same time as it mirrors the nature of the music it accompanies.’
      • ‘He is also utterly charming, happy to poke fun at himself, and adept at sidestepping questions he doesn't want to answer.’
      • ‘Her questions had been neatly sidestepped and deflected.’
      • ‘The recently announced National Water Policy also conveniently sidesteps the harder questions.’
      • ‘Being a lawyer, he naturally sidestepped most of our questions but did draw attention to additions to the case.’
      • ‘We sat down to lunch and discussed petty things and neatly sidestepped upsetting topics.’
      • ‘His assertion sidesteps two equally critical issues.’
      • ‘This time, the question of money would be sidestepped by garnering sufficient sponsorship to distribute the magazine free.’
      • ‘She answered some questions diplomatically, but there was only one question that she sidestepped entirely.’
      • ‘One of the questions that is often sidestepped in these discussions is whether advancements in technology can fundamentally change the character of war.’
      • ‘Physicians, school counselors, parents and others in the community should avoid sidestepping discussions of mental illness.’
      • ‘In chronicling the romance of two forty-somethings wounded by love, the writers neatly sidestep pitfalls that would have plagued a lesser show.’
      avoid, evade, dodge, escape, elude, circumvent, skirt round, give a wide berth to, find a way round, bypass, steer clear of, get out of, shirk
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Skiing no object Climb or descend by lifting alternate skis while facing sideways on the slope.
      • ‘Everybody, even our best skiers, cautiously sidestepped down the first narrow pitch, then made cautious traverses and kick turns.’
      • ‘If it's short, you can sidestep down the slope: face across the hill and step sideways down.’
      • ‘Then Greg starts down again, sidestepping down the face.’
      • ‘As skiers did prior to machine grooming, we sidestepped and herringboned uphill to pack down the powder and skied down several times.’
      • ‘He'd traverse a bit, sidestep into position, then make a few turns.’


  • A step taken sideways, typically to avoid someone or something.

    • ‘He made two audacious sidesteps on a 40-metre dash up the middle to releasing Mark Bowman, who was just held close to the line.’
    • ‘The two combatants once again faced each other, taking a couple of sidesteps, swords at the ready for the next exchange.’
    • ‘With a parry and a sidestep, he deftly avoided the deadly club.’
    • ‘The Spanish boy had already begun to pace, moving to circle about her with slow, measured sidesteps.’
    • ‘Warm up for five minutes by skipping and doing sidesteps, crossover runs, and backward runs in 30-yard increments.’
    • ‘He nodded at the other officer and took a sidestep, a few inches too wide, and promptly crashed into Murphey's desk, sending the detective's telephone and family pictures sailing to the floor.’
    • ‘Mike pushed his way through the crowd, dekeing out the gawking barricades with daring sidesteps and inexpert but effective shoulder-blocks.’
    • ‘Michelle threw another punch and took a sidestep.’
    • ‘If I could just use the magic… A quick sidestep prevented him from being skewered by a fang.’
    • ‘Herman, though, counters with a sidestep and a karate chop.’
    • ‘The attendant stepped back and covered up his collision with the wall with a juddering sidestep.’
    • ‘With a deft sidestep, he evaded them all, still laughing.’
    • ‘With a nimble sidestep, I directed the hunched teenage rider neatly under my outstretched arm holding my overnight bag until, in a flash, he vanished in the swirl of cars, taxis and buses.’
    • ‘Finally in the ward, I do an agile sidestep as a nurse strolls past, the syringe she has just administered an injection with held in front of her like a lance.’
    • ‘One can only guess at how wealthy McGuckian is and direct attempts to elicit this information are met with gently indulgent verbal sidesteps.’
    • ‘It's two steps forward, one step backward, and then a sidestep.’
    • ‘In a few sidesteps and apologies, he was unlocking his car only ten feet away.’
    • ‘Ullrich performed a two-wheeled sidestep around the pair and, as professional cycling ethics dictate, the entire lead group slowed while Armstrong and Mayo remounted.’