Etymology
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fore (adv., prep.)

Old English fore (prep.) "before, in front of, in presence of; because of, for the sake of; earlier in time; instead of;" as an adverb, "before, previously, formerly, once," from Proto-Germanic *fura "before" (source also of Old Saxon fora, Old Frisian fara, Old High German fora, German vor, Danish for, Old Norse fyrr, Gothic faiura "for"), from PIE *prae-, extended form of root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, before."

Now displaced by before. In nautical use, "toward the bows of the ship." Merged from 13c. with the abbreviated forms of afore and before and thus formerly often written 'fore. As a noun, "the front," from 1630s. The warning cry in golf is first recorded 1878, probably a contraction of before.

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fore (adj.)

mid-15c., "forward;" late 15c., "former, earlier;" early 16c., "situated at the front;" all senses apparently from fore- compounds, which frequently were written as two words in Middle English.

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step (n.)

Old English steppa (Mercian), stæpe, stepe (West Saxon) "stair, act of stepping," from the source of step (v.). Compare Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch stap, Old High German stapfo, German Stapfe "footstep"). From late Old English as "degree on a scale." Figurative meaning "action which leads toward a result" is recorded from 1540s. In dancing, from 1670s. Meaning "type of military pace" is from 1798. Warning phrase watch your step is attested from 1911 (Wyclif (late 14c.) has keep thy foot in essentially the same sense). Step by step indicating steady progression is from 1580s. To follow in (someone's) steps is from mid-13c.

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fore- 

Middle English for-, fore-, from Old English fore-, often for- or foran-, from fore (adv. & prep.), which was used as a prefix in Old English as in other Germanic languages with a sense of "before in time, rank, position," etc., or designating the front part or earliest time.

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step (v.)

Old English steppan (Anglian), stæppan (West Saxon) "take a step," from West Germanic *stap- "tread" (source also of Old Frisian stapa, Middle Dutch, Dutch stappen, Old High German stapfon, German stapfen "step"), from PIE root *stebh- "post, stem; to support, place firmly on" (see staff (n.); source also of Old Church Slavonic stopa "step, pace," stepeni "step, degree"). The notion is perhaps "a treading firmly on; a foothold."

Transitive sense (as in step foot in) attested from 1530s. Related: Stepped; stepping. Originally strong (past tense stop, past participle bestapen); weak forms emerged 13c., universal from 16c. To step out "leave for a short time" is from 1530s; meaning "to go out in public in style" is from 1907. Step on it "hurry up" is 1923, from notion of gas pedal.

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step- 

Old English steop-, with connotations of "loss," in combinations like steopcild "orphan," related to astiepan, bestiepan "to bereave, to deprive of parents or children," from Proto-Germanic *steupa- "bereft" (source also of Old Frisian stiap-, Old Norse stjup-, Swedish styv-, Middle Low German stef-, Dutch stief-, Old High German stiof-, German stief-), literally "pushed out," from PIE *steup-, from root *(s)teu- (1) "to push, stick, knock," with derivatives referring to fragments (see steep (adj.)). Barnhart suggests the forms in -f- are by assimilation of the first sound in following words for "father."

Etymologically, a stepfather or stepmother is one who becomes father or mother to an orphan, but the notion of orphanage faded in 20c. and came to denote simply relation through marriage. For sense evolution, compare Latin privignus "stepson," related to privus "deprived." Compare orphan (n.).

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fore-ordained (adj.)

also foreordained, early 15c., for-ordenede, past pariticiple of for-ordeinen "to arrange or plan beforehand" (see fore-ordain).

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step-ladder (n.)

also stepladder, one with flat steps instead of rungs, 1728, from step (n.) + ladder.

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step-daughter (n.)

Old English stepdohtor; see step- + daughter (n.). Similar formation in German Stieftochter.

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