steam shovel


: a power shovel operated by steam
broadly : power shovel

Examples of steam shovel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Smith uses the analogy of a shovel—which increased the power of able-bodied workers—versus a steam shovel—which did the work for them. Alan Murray, Fortune, 11 Sep. 2023 According to legend, during construction a big steam shovel got stuck in the soft soil., 24 July 2023 William Otis wouldn’t patent his industrial steam shovel until 1839, and Alfred Nobel’s dynamite wouldn’t appear until 1866. Nick Yetto, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Feb. 2023 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'steam shovel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

steam shovel

: a power machine for digging that was formerly operated by steam
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!