1

steam

noun \ ˈstēm \

Definition of steam

1 :a vapor arising from a heated substance
2 a :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
3 a :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
4 a :steamer 2a
b :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.

Recent Examples of steam from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of steam

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


2

steam

verb

Definition of steam

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
3 a :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

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.

Recent Examples of steam from the Web

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.

First Known Use of steam

15th century

steam Synonyms



STEAM Defined for English Language Learners

steam

noun

Definition of steam for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of steam for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

steam

noun \ ˈstēm \

Definition of steam for Students

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.

2

steam

verb

Definition of steam for Students

steamed; steaming
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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