See also: STEAM

English

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Steam rising from the street grates. (vapor condensing into mist)

Etymology

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From Middle English steem, stem, from Old English stēam (steam, hot exhalation, hot breath; that which emits vapour; blood), from Proto-Germanic *staumaz (steam, vapour, breath), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰewh₂- (to whirl, waft, stink, shake; steam, haze, smoke). Cognate with Scots stem, steam (steam), West Frisian steam (steam, vapour), Dutch stoom (steam, vapour), Low German stom (steam), Swedish dialectal stimma (steam, fog), Latin fūmus (smoke, steam).

Pronunciation

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Noun

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steam (usually uncountable, plural steams)

  1. The vapor formed when water changes from the liquid phase to the gas phase.
  2. The suspended condensate (cloud) formed by water vapour when it encounters colder air
    1. mist, fog
    2. Exhaled breath into cold air below the dew point of the exhalation
  3. Pressurized water vapour used for heating, cooking, or to provide mechanical energy.
  4. The act of cooking by steaming.
    Give the carrots a ten-minute steam.
  5. (figuratively) Internal energy for progress or motive power.
    After three weeks in bed he was finally able to sit up under his own steam.
    • 1927, Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb, Ladies and Gentlemen, page 129:
      Them that puts the most steam into it will get a finnuf slipped to 'em.
  6. (figuratively) Pent-up anger.
    Dad had to go outside to blow off some steam.
  7. A steam-powered vehicle.
  8. Travel by means of a steam-powered vehicle.
  9. (obsolete) Any exhalation.
  10. (fencing) Fencing without the use of any electric equipment.

Synonyms

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Antonyms

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Derived terms

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Translations

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb

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steam (third-person singular simple present steams, present participle steaming, simple past and past participle steamed)

  1. (transitive, cooking) To cook with steam.
    The best way to cook artichokes is to steam them.
  2. (intransitive, literal, figurative) To be cooked with steam.
    The artichokes are steaming in the pot.
    I'm steaming in this coat.
  3. (transitive) To expose to the action of steam; to apply steam to for softening, dressing, or preparing.
    to steam wood or cloth
  4. (transitive) To raise steam, e.g. in a steam locomotive.
    • 2023 July 12, Paul Clifton, “Network News: Saved: Trust protects Adrian Shooter's legacy”, in RAIL, number 987, page 28:
      "We will give 198 a full exam. Then steam her, and operate her for the rest of the season.
  5. (intransitive) To produce or vent steam.
    • 1665 (first performance), John Dryden, The Indian Emperour, or, The Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards. [], London: [] J[ohn] M[acock] for H[enry] Herringman [], published 1667, →OCLC, Act III, scene iii, page 36:
      See, ſee, my Brother's Ghoſt hangs hovering there, / O're his vvarm Blood, that ſteems into the Air, / Revenge, Revenge it cries.
    • 1961 February, 'Balmore', “Driving and firing modern French steam locomotives - Part One”, in Trains Illustrated, page 110:
      I found that the Chapelon steamed almost too freely, because on a strange locomotive and road one usually tends to overfire a little through a natural lack of confidence.
  6. (intransitive) To rise in vapour; to issue, or pass off, as vapour.
    Our breath steamed in the cold winter air.
    • 1661, Robert Boyle, “[Two Essays, Concerning the Unsuccessfulness of Experiments, Containing Divers Admonitions and Observations (Chiefly Chymical) Touching that Subject.] The First Essay, of the Unsuccessfulness of Experiments.”, in Certain Physiological Essays and Other Tracts; [], 2nd edition, London: [] Henry Herringman [], published 1669, →OCLC, page 66:
      [T]he diſſolved Amber vvas plainly diſcernable ſvvimming like a thin film upon the ſurface of the Liquor, vvhence little by little it ſteamed avvay into the air.
  7. (intransitive, figuratively) To become angry; to fume; to be incensed.
  8. (transitive, figuratively) To make angry.
    It really steams me to see her treat him like that.
  9. (transitive) To cover with condensed water vapor.
    With all the heavy breathing going on the windows were quickly steamed in the car.
    • 1952, Nikos Kazantzakis, chapter 1, in Carl Wildman, transl., Zorba the Greek, New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, translation of Βίος και πολιτεία του Αλέξη Ζορμπά [Víos kai politeía tou Aléxi Zormpá], →ISBN, page 3:
      A strong sirocco was blowing the spray from the waves as far as the little café, whose glass doors were shut. The café reeked of brewing sage and human beings whose breath steamed the windows because of the cold outside.
  10. (intransitive) To travel by means of steam power.
    We steamed around the Mediterranean.
    The ship steamed out of the harbour.
    • 1947 January and February, O. S. Nock, “"The Aberdonian" in Wartime”, in Railway Magazine, page 7:
      We steamed easily across the first part of the Tay Bridge, and then after passing over the long spans in mid-stream we coasted smoothly down the 1 in 114 gradient, and around the sweeping curve through Esplanade Station.
  11. (figuratively or literally) To move with great or excessive purposefulness.
    If he heard of anyone picking the fruit he would steam off and lecture them.
    • 2010 December 29, Chris Whyatt, “Chelsea 1 - 0 Bolton”, in BBC[1]:
      That was the hard work largely done as the Ivorian waited for Malouda to steam into the box before releasing a simple crossed pass which the Frenchman side-footed home with aplomb.
  12. (obsolete) To exhale.

Synonyms

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Derived terms

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Translations

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Adjective

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steam (not comparable)

  1. Old-fashioned; from before the digital age.
    • 1989 December 30, “Despite the era's technological marvels, 'wireless' is still magic”, in Toronto Star:
      Tom Earle, a CBC radio veteran now compiling audio archives in Ottawa, used to refer to the medium in which he worked as "steam radio"
    • 2000 January 10, Bill Pannifer, “Sore eyes”, in The Independent:
      Unlike the Web, old-fashioned steam television must be viewed in sequence in order to pick out those rare bits of useful information.
    • 2002 September 5, Alex Kirby, “Summit diary: Aftermath”, in BBC News:
      In the old days of steam journalism, after cleft sticks had been phased out but before the advent of e-mail, there used to be a fairly sure-fire way of getting your story to the news desk.
    • 2004 April 2, “'I'ma player. It's time to move on'”, in Telegraph.co.uk:
      Fox has been at Capital since 1988, where he lurks a little in the shadow of Chris Tarrant, the radio station's monolithic star who has helmed the plum breakfast show slot since the steam radio dawn of time.

Anagrams

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Old English

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Etymology

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From Proto-Germanic *staumaz, compare also Dutch stoom.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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stēam m

  1. steam (water vapor)

Declension

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West Frisian

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Etymology

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From Old Frisian [Term?], from Proto-Germanic *staumaz.

Noun

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steam c (no plural)

  1. steam
    Synonym: stoom

Further reading

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  • stoom”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011