Meaning of STEAM in English


I. ˈstēm noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English stem, steme, from Old English stēam, stēm, stīem; akin to Dutch stoom steam


a. : a vapor arising from some heated substance : exhalation

a steam of incense

b. archaic : stale air — often used in plural

every modest flower that needs the pure air and will not grow in steams — James Martineau


a. : the invisible vapor into which water is converted when heated to the boiling point : water in the state of vapor — compare dry steam , water vapor , wet steam

b. : the mist formed by the condensation on cooling of water vapor : visible vapor


a. : water vapor kept under pressure so as to supply energy for heating, cooking, or mechanical work ; also : the power so generated

full steam ahead

b. : driving force : energy , power

had got here on his own steam , won a lot of scholarships — A.L.Rowse

hit him a peach of a right … but the steam was gone — A.J.Liebling

c. : emotional tension

after six months of hard study, he felt the need to let off a little steam

though not a demonstrative bird, the king penguin occasionally must let off steam — A.N.T.Rankin


a. : steamship

travel by steam

b. : travel by or a trip in a steamship

the sea voyage — a night and a day's steam — J.P.O'Donnell

c. : the occupation of handling ships under steam

a blue-water man who had come into steam and the home trade to get an easier life — Thomas Wood †1950

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

intransitive verb

1. : to rise in vapor : issue or pass off as vapor

the heat steams out of the forest — Robert Payne


a. : to give off steam or vapor

the town steamed in a listless heat — Vincent McHugh

the cows … stood in the yards all day, ruminating and steaming — Adrian Bell

b. : reek

at that time of year the boardwalk steams with sophistication — New York Times


a. : to move or travel by the agency of steam

reaching the little riverside landing … after a day and a half of steaming southward — Tom Marvel

saw the train steaming in — Edith Sitwell

b. : to move with energy or force as if by the agency of steam

when he steams into second base, say, on a long double — Time

the racket smacked … and the white ball came steaming across at me — R.P.Warren

4. : to generate steam

the boiler steams well

5. : to be angry : boil

was still steaming over the insult he had received

transitive verb

1. : to give out as fumes : exhale

2. : to apply steam to

women often like to steam the skin by covering it with hot towels — Morris Fishbein


a. : to cook by direct exposure to steam (as in a steamer) or in a vessel surrounded by steam (as in a double boiler)

b. : to expose (cloth) to the action of steam (as in dyeing or shrinking)

3. : to convey by steamship

4. : to move by the action of steam

steaming a carrier through the Strait of Gibraltar — Walter Karig

- steam open

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.