Writing a concept description for a product, I'm trying to describe the possible modes of operation tersely.

One of those modes of operation is "Walking on even ground", another is "Ascending or descending stairs, holding hand rail".

I was wondering, is there a hypernym I could use instead of "ascending or descending stairs" that describes both actions while excluding walking on even ground? One potential candidate would be "using stairs", but that sounds very bland.


1 Answer 1


Stair-walking is a term that seems to be used in the academic literature:

Note: 'stair walking' seems to be used far more often, and yet 'stair-walking' seems to be an accepted alternative term. The terms are used interchangeably by Meena Azzollini in her article "Ditch coffee, climb stairs for energy boost" "Neither caffeine nor stair-walking caused any large improvements in attention or memory but stair walking caused an increase in motivation to work." Reading this sentence I sense a slight difference in meaning an emphasis in the two terms. I think 'stair-walking' puts a little more emphasis on the stairs and 'stair walking' puts a little more emphasis on the walking.

Another two word term used is 'stair ambulation' is used by J. Richards, P. Holler, B. Bockstahler,3, B. Dale, M. Mueller, J. Burston, J. Selfe and D. Levine in the abstract of their paper "A comparison of human and canine kinematics during level walking, stair ascent, and stair descent" "Stair ambulation is sometimes unavoidable for humans and canines, and changes several parameters of the gait cycle in comparison to level walking."

A few more informal suggestions: What about coining a word 'stair-stepping' (or stairstepping)? Perhaps 'stair-traveling'? I get the sense that the word you want can be somewhat informal.

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