steam shovel


: a power shovel operated by steam
broadly : power shovel

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Humans have an enormous capacity to forgive and forget, but Gruden dug himself a hole with a steam shovel. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Oct. 2021 The steam shovel, used to help fill in the tidal marshes of the Back Bay — and later, to help build the transcontinental railroad., 26 Aug. 2021 Among the worst moments of the 1918 influenza pandemic are Philadelphia's overwhelmed morgue stacking unembalmed bodies without ice on multiple floors until storage was found, or the city resorting to steam shovels for digging mass graves. USA Today, 22 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'steam shovel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1878, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of steam shovel was in 1878

Dictionary Entries Near steam shovel

Cite this Entry

“Steam shovel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

steam shovel


: a power machine for digging that was formerly operated by steam
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