steam

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English[edit]

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Steam rising from the street grates. (1, 2)

Etymology[edit]

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 *dʰew- (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[edit]

Noun[edit]

steam (uncountable)

  1. The vapor formed when water changes from liquid phase to gas phase.
  2. Pressurized water vapour used for heating, cooking, or to provide mechanical energy.
  3. (figuratively) Internal energy for motive power.
    After three weeks in bed he was finally able to sit up under his own steam.
  4. (figuratively) Pent-up anger.
    Dad had to go outside to blow off some steam.
  5. A steam-powered vehicle.
  6. Travel by means of a steam-powered vehicle.
  7. (obsolete) Any exhalation.
    • Milton
      a steam of rich, distilled perfumes

Synonyms[edit]

  • (a steam-powered vehicle): steamer

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (cooking, transitive) To cook with steam.
  2. (transitive) To expose to the action of steam; to apply steam to for softening, dressing, or preparing.
    to steam wood or cloth
  3. (intransitive) To produce or vent steam.
    • Dryden
      My brother's ghost hangs hovering there, / O'er his warm blood, that steams into the air.
  4. (intransitive) To rise in vapour; to issue, or pass off, as vapour.
    • Boyle
      The dissolved amber [] steamed away into the air.
  5. (intransitive, figuratively) To become angry; to fume; to be incensed.
  6. (transitive, figuratively) To make angry.
    It really steams me to see her treat him like that.
  7. (intransitive) To be covered with condensed water vapor.
    With all the heavy breathing going on the windows were quickly steamed in the car.
  8. (intransitive) To travel by means of steam power.
    We steamed around the Mediterranean.
    • N. P. Willis
      The vessel steamed out of port.
  9. (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”, BBC:
      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.
  10. (obsolete) To exhale.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Adjective[edit]

steam (not comparable)

  1. Old-fashioned; from before the digital age.
    • 1989, “Despite the era's technological marvels, 'wireless' is still magic”, 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”, 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”, 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'”, 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[edit]


Old English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Proto-Germanic *staumaz, compare also Dutch stoom.

Noun[edit]

stēam m

  1. steam (water vapor)

West Frisian[edit]

Noun[edit]

steam c (no plural, no diminutive)

  1. steam