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noun \ˈstēm\

Simple Definition of steam

  • : the hot gas that is created when water is boiled

  • : steam that is created by a machine and kept under pressure to provide power

  • : very small drops of water that form on a surface when warm air that contains a lot of water is cooled down

Full Definition of steam

  1. 1 :  a vapor arising from a heated substance

  2. 2a :  the invisible vapor into which water is converted when heated to the boiling pointb :  the mist formed by the condensation on cooling of water vapor

  3. 3a :  water vapor kept under pressure so as to supply energy for heating, cooking, or mechanical work; also :  the power so generatedb :  active force :  power, momentum <got there under his own steam> <sales began to pick up steam>; also :  normal force <at full steam>c :  pent-up emotional tension <needed to let off a little steam>

  4. 4a :  steamer 2ab :  travel by or a trip in a steamer

Examples of steam

  1. Careful, the steam from the pot is hot.

  2. The boat runs on steam.

  3. He wiped the steam from the mirrors.

  4. He was afraid he would run out of steam before the end of the race.

  5. I was making good progress this morning, but now I'm starting to run out of steam.

Origin of steam

Middle English stem, from Old English stēam; akin to Dutch stoom steam

First Known Use: before 12th century




Simple Definition of steam

  • : to produce steam

  • : to cook, heat, or treat (something) with steam

  • : to cause (something, such as a piece of glass) to become covered with small drops of water

Full Definition of steam

  • transitive verb
    1. 1 :  to give out as fumes :  exhale

    2. 2 :  to apply steam to; especially :  to expose to the action of steam (as for softening or cooking)

    3. intransitive verb
    4. 1 :  to rise or pass off as vapor

    5. 2 :  to give off steam or vapor

    6. 3a :  to move or travel by the agency of steamb :  to move or proceed with energy or force

    7. 4 :  to be angry :  boil <steaming over the insult>

    Examples of steam

    1. a steaming bowl of soup

    2. She prefers to steam carrots rather than boil them.

    3. Their breath steamed the windows.

    15th Century

    First Known Use of steam

    15th century

    Seen and Heard

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    February 14, 2016

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