steam

noun
\ ˈstēm How to pronounce steam (audio) \

Definition of steam

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a vapor arising from a heated substance
2a : the invisible vapor into which water is converted when heated to the boiling point
b : the mist formed by the condensation on cooling of water vapor
3a : water vapor kept under pressure so as to supply energy for heating, cooking, or mechanical work also : the power so generated
b : 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
b : travel by or a trip in a steamer

steam

verb
steamed; steaming; steams

Definition of steam (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to give out as fumes : exhale
2 : to apply steam to especially : to expose to the action of steam (as for softening or cooking)

intransitive verb

1 : to rise or pass off as vapor
2 : to give off steam or vapor
3a : to move or travel by the agency of steam
b : to move or proceed with energy or force
4 : to be angry : boil steaming over the insult

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Synonyms for steam

Synonyms: Verb

boil, burn, foam, fume, rage, rankle, seethe, sizzle, storm

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Examples of steam in a Sentence

Noun

Careful, the steam from the pot is hot. The boat runs on steam. He wiped the steam from the mirrors. He was afraid he would run out of steam before the end of the race. I was making good progress this morning, but now I'm starting to run out of steam.

Verb

a steaming bowl of soup She prefers to steam carrots rather than boil them. Their breath steamed the windows.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Vietnam War was picking up steam and her oldest child, Jim Biesen, of Schererville, had just enlisted in the service the week before he would've been drafted, Haack said. Michelle L. Quinn, Post-Tribune, "Flag Lady remembered for giving Northwest Indiana one of its most enduring monuments," 14 June 2019 The chart peak showed that the 29-year-old rapper isn’t losing steam, and his furious flow on all 16 tracks further solidifies that. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 50 Best Albums of 2019 (So Far): Staff Picks," 3 June 2019 Here’s how their method works: As the power plant pumps up the volcanic water to run the turbines that provide heat and electricity to Reykjavik, the scientists capture the CO2 emitted from the plant’s steam and liquifies it into condensate. Andrew Daniels, Popular Mechanics, "Iceland’s Radical Plan to Slow Climate Change," 9 May 2019 Officials in Seoul worry that, unless Washington and Pyongyang re-engage sooner rather than later, the rapprochement that began last year risks losing steam, and that North Korea may opt to exit the talks. ... Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "U.S.-North Korea Nuclear Talks Must Resume Quickly, Says Worried South," 4 Mar. 2019 While other forms of meditation (say, Yin yoga) occur nationwide and are often scheduled on a daily basis, the sound bath experience is still gaining steam, and even the most popular events usually occur on a monthly or one-off basis. Nicole Dellert, Allure, "I Tried a Sound Bath — Here's What This Meditative Practice Is Really Like," 24 Oct. 2018 There is no cure for the flu, but doctors recommend vaccination, fluids, rest, steam, and pain and/or fever reducer, and a lot of TLC. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Flu Symptoms in Kids Come Suddenly, But You Can Act Fast If You Know What to Look For," 19 Oct. 2018 Ear Spring on Yellowstone’s Geyser Hill went from being dormant on Saturday to spewing steam and water between 20 and 30 feet high, a height not recorded since 1957, said park spokesman Neal Herbert. Fox News, "Long-dormant Yellowstone hot spring erupts," 22 Sep. 2018 Tatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures There are moments when this approach makes the film seem repetitive, losing narrative steam and drive in a way that verges on distracting. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "If Beale Street Could Talk adapts James Baldwin’s novel into a haunting, gorgeous film," 18 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When intelligence agencies picked up threats in early May, the aircraft carrier Lincoln was directed to steam toward the oil lanes that Iran could threaten. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "After Placing Blame for Attacks, Trump Faces Difficult Choices on Confronting Iran," 13 June 2019 While most places serve steamed cabbage, a traditional Jamaican dish, almost all also offer classic soul food sides like mac and cheese. Nick Kindelsperger, chicagotribune.com, "The 5 best jerk chicken dishes on Chicago’s South Side," 13 June 2019 Nearby eats: Sunny Bowl — Fuel up for the big show at this cozy Korean spot, specializing in tasty bowl dishes such as the Kalbi Hot Pot, with beef short ribs, veggies, steamed rice and a fried egg on top. Jim Harrington, The Mercury News, "Where to eat before concerts at Shoreline Amphitheatre," 5 June 2019 The technique—which involves steaming the food gradually via the vapors that build up within the parchment—requires very little extra fat. Rebekah Lowin, Country Living, "Here's Why You Should Be Using Parchment Paper Instead of Wax Paper," 29 May 2019 If the suede is matted, lightly steam the area for a few seconds, then raise the nap with the emery board or brush. Sarah Bogdan, Good Housekeeping, "The Easiest Way to Clean and Protect Suede Shoes," 16 May 2019 That narrative was shattered when U.S. growth kept steaming ahead even as global growth—especially in China and Germany—stalled. Stephen Moore, WSJ, "The Trump Boom Is No Mere ‘Sugar High’," 9 Dec. 2018 Other details to watch for: wood flooring curved by a steaming machine and by hand, the master bedroom bed that runs eight feet in diameter, plus lots of curved storage, walls, and railings. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Jackie Gleason’s iconic ‘Round House’ yours for $12M," 31 Aug. 2018 In a vineyard on the slopes of this steaming volcano, I was served a glass of full-bodied red wine by a woman who could have been Sophia Loren’s younger cousin. Rick Steves, miamiherald, "It’s got ancient Greek ruins, spicy food and an active volcano. It’s extreme Italy.," 25 Jan. 2018

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

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First Known Use of steam

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for steam

Noun

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

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Statistics for steam

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for steam

The first known use of steam was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for steam

steam

noun

English Language Learners Definition of steam

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

steam

verb

English Language Learners Definition of steam (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

steam

noun
\ ˈstēm How to pronounce steam (audio) \

Kids Definition of steam

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the vapor into which water is changed when heated to the boiling point
2 : steam or the heat or power produced by it when kept under pressure Some houses are heated by steam.
3 : the mist formed when water vapor cools
4 : driving force : power By the end of the day, I had run out of steam.

steam

verb
steamed; steaming

Kids Definition of steam (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to give off steam or vapor The cocoa steamed fragrantly in the saucepan …— Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
2 : to rise or pass off as steam Heat steamed from the pipes.
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 : to expose to steam (as for cooking)

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More from Merriam-Webster on steam

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with steam

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for steam

Spanish Central: Translation of steam

Nglish: Translation of steam for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of steam for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about steam

Comments on steam

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