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steam·​roll·​er ˈstēm-ˌrō-lər How to pronounce steamroller (audio)
: a steam-driven road roller
broadly : road roller
: a crushing force especially when ruthlessly applied to overcome opposition


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steam·​roll·​er ˈstēm-ˌrō-lər How to pronounce steamroller (audio)
variants or steamroll
steamrollered or steamrolled; steamrollering or steamrolling; steamrollers or steamrolls

transitive verb

: to overwhelm usually by greatly superior force
steamroller the opposition
: to bring or advance by overwhelming force or pressure
steamrollered the bill through the legislature

intransitive verb

: to move or proceed with irresistible force

Examples of steamroller in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Some people in city government admire Tisch’s steamroller tendencies. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2024 Trump won't 'go gently' Trump says both cases were political hit jobs aimed at stalling his steamroller campaign for the GOP nomination, and he's vowed to appeal. Aysha Bagchi, USA TODAY, 17 Feb. 2024 The fates of potential awards-season steamrollers such as Barbie and Oppenheimer — and other more mainstream awards bait like The Color Purple and Maestro — will be clearer after next week’s Golden Globe nominations. Joe Reid, Vulture, 7 Dec. 2023 Daimler-Benz brought some electric cars to show off, while young activists brought a steamroller, to convey their opposition to cars. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 25 Nov. 2023 One group destroyed more than 200 of her albums, cassettes and CDs with a steamroller lumbering down New York’s Sixth Avenue. Holly Meyer, Fortune, 30 July 2023 Few imagined that Ukrainian forces could hold out for very long against the Russian steamroller. Lawrence Freedman, Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2022 Yet that, just like four indictments and two impeachments, may not stop the steamroller that is Trump's campaign, GOP strategists who spoke with ABC News said Monday. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 28 Aug. 2023 The toy line also includes smaller versions of the rescue vehicles featured in the film, including Zuma's hovercraft, Marshall's fire truck, Rubble's steamroller and Rocky's recycling truck. Sarah Maberry, Good Housekeeping, 28 July 2023
Our pick is based on a comparative assessment: A full season of results suggests Gonzaga and Utah State are on the same tier, and Purdue just steamrollered the Aggies (by 39 points). Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 27 Mar. 2024 MacMichael steamrollered his opponents with a clear, concise argument. Jon Wilner, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Nov. 2023 On Wednesday, the defense attorney Mr. Levitt said that Mr. Winkler felt a calling for his traditional trade, and was being steamrollered by the government and the wealthy Gosmans. Karen Zraick Karsten Moran, New York Times, 14 Sep. 2023 Her albums were steamrollered outside of her label’s offices in Rockefeller Center. Allyson McCabe, Los Angeles Times, 27 July 2023 The things that are good about Barbie—Robbie’s buoyant, charming performance and Ryan Gosling’s go-for-broke turn as perennial boyfriend Ken, as well as the gorgeous, inventive production design—end up being steamrollered by all the things this movie is trying so hard to be. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 18 July 2023 Diane’s lawyer urged the judge to honor Diane’s preferences, rather than allow them to be steamrollered by daughters who claimed to know better for her. Katie Engelhart, New York Times, 9 May 2023 The Bruins, who won the regular-season conference title but lost to Arizona in the Pac-12 tournament, steamrollered UNC Asheville in Thursday night’s final NCAA first-round game at Golden 1 Center. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Mar. 2023 But the 2016 primary had the opposite effect: a scrambled field of more than a dozen candidates helped Trump to steamroller everyone else. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'steamroller.' 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


1863, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1879, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of steamroller was in 1863

Dictionary Entries Near steamroller

Cite this Entry

“Steamroller.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a machine formerly driven by steam that has wide heavy rollers for pressing down and smoothing roads

More from Merriam-Webster on steamroller

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