stepping-stone - definition and synonyms

noun [countable] 

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singularstepping-stone
pluralstepping-stones
  1. 1
    a step in a process that helps you to move forward to another part of it

    The job can be a stepping-stone to a career in publishing.

  2. 2
    a flat piece of rock in a river that you can stand on in order to cross to the other side