- water in the form of an invisible gas or vapor.
- water changed to this form by boiling, extensively used for the generation of mechanical power, for heating purposes, etc.
- the mist formed when the gas or vapor from boiling water condenses in the air.
- an exhalation of a vapor or mist.
- Informal. power or energy.
verb (used without object)
- to emit or give off steam or vapor.
- to rise or pass off in the form of steam or vapor.
- to become covered with condensed steam, as a window or other surface (often followed by up).
- to generate or produce steam, as in a boiler.
- to move or travel by the agency of steam.
- to move rapidly or evenly: He steamed out of the room.
- Informal. to be angry or show anger: Fans are still steaming from Monday night’s sloppy 5-4 loss.
verb (used with object)
- to expose to or treat with steam, as in order to heat, cook, soften, renovate, or the like.
- to emit or exhale (steam or vapor).
- Informal. to cause to become irked or angry (often followed by up).
- to convey by the agency of steam: to steam the ship safely into port.
- heated by or heating with steam: a steam radiator.
- propelled by or propelling with a steam engine.
- operated by steam.
- conducting steam: a steam line.
- bathed with or affected by steam.
- of or relating to steam.
- blow/let off steam, Informal. to give vent to one’s repressed emotions, especially by talking or behaving in an unrestrained manner: Don’t take her remarks too seriously—she was just blowing off steam.
- the gas or vapour into which water is changed when boiled
- the mist formed when such gas or vapour condenses in the atmosphere
- any vaporous exhalation
- informal power, energy, or speed
- get up steam
- (of a ship, etc) to work up a sufficient head of steam in a boiler to drive an engine
- informalto go quickly
- let off steam informal to release pent-up energy or emotions
- under one’s own steam without the assistance of others
- Australian slang cheap wine
- (modifier) driven, operated, heated, powered, etc, by steama steam radiator
- (modifier) treated by steamsteam ironed; steam cleaning
- (modifier) jocular old-fashioned; outmodedsteam radio
- to emit or be emitted as steam
- (intr) to generate steam, as a boiler, etc
- (intr) to move or travel by steam power, as a ship, etc
- (intr) informal to proceed quickly and sometimes forcefully
- to cook or be cooked in steam
- (tr) to treat with steam or apply steam to, as in cleaning, pressing clothes, etc
Old English steam “vapor, fume,” from Proto-Germanic *staumaz (cf. Dutch stoom), of unknown origin. Steam age first attested 1941. Steam heat as a method of temperature control recorded from 1904.
Old English stemen, stymen “to emit a scent or odor,” from the root of steam (n.). Slang meaning “to make angry” is from 1922. Related: Steamed; steaming.
- Water in its gaseous state, especially at a temperature above the boiling point of water (above 100°C, or 212°F, at sea level). See Note at vapor.
- A mist of condensed water vapor.
Also, let off steam. Air or relieve one’s pent-up feelings by loud talk or vigorous activity. For example, Joan’s shouting did not mean she was angry at you; she was just blowing off steam, or After spending the day on very exacting work, Tom blew off steam by going for a long run. This metaphoric term refers to easing the pressure in a steam engine. [Early 1800s]
see blow off steam; full speed (steam) ahead; get up steam; run out of steam; under one’s own steam.