Definition: Steppe

From New World Encyclopedia


From German Steppe or French steppe, in turn from Russian степь or stepʹ (flat grassy plain). There is no generally accepted earlier etymology, but there is a speculative Old East Slavic reconstruction *сътепь or sŭtepĭ (trampled place, flat, bare), related to топот or topot, топтать or toptatĭ.


steppe (countable and uncountable, plural steppes)

  1. The grasslands of Eastern Europe and Asia. Similar to (North American) prairie and (African) savanna.
  2. A vast, cold, dry grass-plain.

Usage notes

Although it may be the steppe biome, one would not normally speak of the steppes of Canada, whereas one would speak of the steppes of Asia or the steppes of Russia.

Derived terms

  • forest steppe
  • mammoth steppe
  • shrubsteppe
  • steppe bison
  • steppe cat
  • steppe eagle
  • steppe fox
  • steppe lemming
  • steppe lion
  • steppe mammoth
  • steppe murrain
  • steppe-tundra
  • steppe vole
  • steppe wisent
  • steppic


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