- n. & v.
1 a the gas into which water is changed by boiling, used as a source of power by virtue of its expansion of volume. b a mist of liquid particles of water produced by the condensation of this gas.
2 any similar vapour.
3 a energy or power provided by a steam engine or other machine. b colloq. power or energy generally.
1 tr. a cook (food) in steam. b soften or make pliable (timber etc.) or otherwise treat with steam.
2 intr. give off steam or other vapour, esp. visibly.
3 intr. a move under steam power (the ship steamed down the river). b (foll. by ahead, away, etc.) colloq. proceed or travel fast or with vigour.
4 tr. & intr. (usu. foll. by up) a cover or become covered with condensed steam. b (as steamed up adj.) colloq. angry or excited.
5 tr. (foll. by open etc.) apply steam to the gum of (a sealed envelope) to get it open.
Phrases and idioms:
get up steam
1 generate enough power to work a steam engine.
2 work oneself into an energetic or angry state. let off steam relieve one's pent up feelings or energy. run out of steam lose one's impetus or energy. steam age the era when trains were drawn by steam locomotives. steam bath a room etc. filled with steam for bathing in. steam boiler a vessel (in a steam engine etc.) in which water is boiled to generate steam.
1 an engine which uses the expansion or rapid condensation of steam to generate power.
2 a locomotive powered by this. steam gauge a pressure gauge attached to a steam boiler. steam hammer a forging-hammer powered by steam. steam-heat the warmth given out by steam-heated radiators etc. steam iron an electric iron that emits steam from its flat surface, to improve its pressing ability. steam-jacket a casing for steam round a cylinder, for heating its contents. steam organ a fairground pipe-organ driven by a steam engine and played by means of a keyboard or a system of punched cards. steam power the force of steam applied to machinery etc. steam shovel an excavator powered by steam. steam-tight impervious to steam. steam train a train driven by a steam engine. steam tug a steamer for towing ships etc. steam turbine a turbine in which a high-velocity jet of steam rotates a bladed disc or drum. under one's own steam without assistance; unaided.
Etymology: OE steam f. Gmc
Useful english dictionary. 2012.