Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

steam

play
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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

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 in a sentence

  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 and Etymology of steam

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


First Known Use: before 12th century


2

steam

verb

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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

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 in a sentence

    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



    STEAM Defined for Kids

    1

    steam

    play
    noun \ˈstēm\

    Definition of steam for Students

    1. 1 :  the vapor into which water is changed when heated to the boiling point

    2. 2 :  steam or the heat or power produced by it when kept under pressure <Some houses are heated by steam.>

    3. 3 :  the mist formed when water vapor cools

    4. 4 :  driving force :  power <By the end of the day, I had run out of steam.>




    2

    steam

    play
    verb

    Definition of steam for Students

    steamed

    steaming

    1. 1 :  to give off steam or vapor <The cocoa steamed fragrantly in the saucepan … — Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time>

    2. 2 :  to rise or pass off as steam <Heat steamed from the pipes.>

    3. 3 :  to move or travel by or as if by the power of steam <The ship steamed out of the harbor.> <She steamed past the fancy brick entrance to the golf course … — Carl Hiaasen, Hoot>

    4. 4 :  to expose to steam (as for cooking)





    Seen and Heard

    What made you want to look up steam? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

    WORD OF THE DAY

    of, relating to, or near a shore

    Get Word of the Day daily email!

    WORD GAMES

    Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

    lavender-fields-in-france

    Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

    torrent interruption rebellion megillah
    Name That Thing

    Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    SCRABBLE® Sprint

    Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

    TAKE THE QUIZ