Meaning of STEAM in English


I. steam 1 W3 /stiːm/ BrE AmE noun [uncountable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ steam , ↑ steamer ; verb : ↑ steam ; adverb : ↑ steaming ; adjective : ↑ steamy ]

[ Language: Old English ]

1 . GAS the hot mist that water produces when it is boiled:

Steam rose from the hot tub.

2 . MIST ON SURFACE the mist that forms on windows, mirrors etc when warm wet air suddenly becomes cold

3 . POWER power that is produced by boiling water to make steam, in order to make things work or move:

The engines are driven by steam.

steam engine/train/hammer etc (=an engine etc that works by steam power)

4 . let/blow off steam to get rid of your anger, excitement, or energy in a way that does not harm anyone by doing something active

5 . get/pick/build up steam ( also gather/gain steam )

a) if an engine picks up steam, it gradually starts to go faster

b) if plans, beliefs etc pick up steam, they gradually become more important and more people become interested in them:

The election campaign is picking up steam.

6 . run out of steam ( also lose steam ) to no longer have the energy or the desire to continue doing something, especially because you are tired:

I usually just let her yell until she runs out of steam.

7 . under your own steam if you go somewhere under your own steam, you get there without help from anyone else:

I’ll get to the restaurant under my own steam.

8 . RAILWAY a railway system in which the trains use steam for power:

the age of steam

⇨ full steam ahead at ↑ full 1 (18)

II. steam 2 BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ steam , ↑ steamer ; verb : ↑ steam ; adverb : ↑ steaming ; adjective : ↑ steamy ]

1 . [intransitive] if something steams, steam rises from it, especially because it is hot:

A pot was steaming on top of the cooker.

2 . [transitive] to cook something in steam ⇨ boil :

Steam the vegetables lightly.

steamed broccoli

3 . [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to travel somewhere in a boat or train that uses steam to produce power

steam into/from etc

We steamed from port to port.

4 . [intransitive] especially British English to go somewhere very quickly

steam in/down

Geoff steamed in, ten minutes late.

5 . be steaming (mad) ( also be steamed (up) ) American English spoken to be very angry

steam ahead phrasal verb

to start doing something very quickly:

The company is steaming ahead with its investment programme.

steam something ↔ open/off phrasal verb

to use steam to open an envelope or to remove a stamp from an envelope

steam up phrasal verb

to cover something with steam, or to become covered with steam:

My glasses are all steamed up.

steam something ↔ up

A pan was boiling on the stove, steaming up the windows.

⇨ ↑ steamed-up

• • •


■ ways of cooking something

▪ bake to cook things such as bread or cakes in an oven:

Tom baked a cake for my birthday.

▪ roast to cook meat or vegetables in an oven:

Roast the potatoes for an hour.

▪ fry to cook food in hot oil:

She was frying some mushrooms.

▪ stir-fry to fry small pieces of food while moving them around continuously:

stir-fried tofu and bean sprouts

▪ sauté /ˈsəʊteɪ $ soʊˈteɪ/ to fry vegetables for a short time in a small amount of butter or oil:

Sauté the potatoes in butter.

▪ grill to cook food over or under strong heat:

grilled fish

▪ broil American English to cook food under heat:

broiled fish

▪ boil to cook something in very hot water:

He doesn’t even know how to boil an egg.


English people seem to love boiled vegetables.

▪ steam to cook vegetables over hot water:

Steam the rice for 15 minutes.

▪ poach to cook food, especially fish or eggs, slowly in hot water:

poached salmon

▪ toast to cook the outside surfaces of bread:

toasted muffins

▪ barbecue to cook food on a metal frame over a fire outdoors:

I thought we could barbecue some mackerel.

▪ microwave to cook food in a microwave oven:

The beans can be microwaved.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.