What does steam mean?

Definitions for steam

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word steam.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. steamverb

    water at boiling temperature diffused in the atmosphere

  2. steamer, steamverb

    travel by means of steam power

    "The ship steamed off into the Pacific"

  3. steamverb

    emit steam

    "The rain forest was literally steaming"

  4. steamverb

    rise as vapor

  5. steamverb

    get very angry

    "her indifference to his amorous advances really steamed the young man"

  6. steam, steam cleanverb

    clean by means of steaming

    "steam-clean the upholstered sofa"

  7. steamverb

    cook something by letting steam pass over it

    "just steam the vegetables"


  1. steamnoun

    The vapor formed when water changes from liquid phase to gas phase.

  2. steamnoun

    Pressurized water vapour used for heating, cooking, or to provide mechanical energy.

  3. steamnoun

    Internal energy for motive power.

    After three weeks in bed he was finally able to sit up under his own steam.

  4. steamnoun

    Pent-up anger.

    Dad had to go outside to blow off some steam.

  5. steamnoun

    A steam-powered vehicle.

  6. steamnoun

    Travel by means of a steam-powered vehicle

  7. steamverb

    To cook with steam

  8. steamverb

    To produce or vent steam.

  9. steamverb

    To become angry; to fume; to be incensed.

  10. steamverb

    To make angry.

    It really steams me to see her treat him like that.

  11. steamverb

    To be covered with condensed water vapor.

    With all the heavy breathing going on the windows were quickly steamed in the car.

  12. steamverb

    To travel by means of steam power.

    We steamed around the Mediterranean.

  13. steamverb

    To move with great or excessive purposefulness.

    If he heard of anyone picking the fruit he would steam off and lecture them.

  14. steamadjective

    Old-fashioned; from before the digital age.

  15. Etymology: staumaz, compare also Dutch stoom. Probably cognate with Albanian tështimë, pështym, both related to tym.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. STEAMnoun

    The smoke or vapour of any thing moist and hot.

    Etymology: steme , Saxon.

    Sweet odours are, in such a company as there is steam and heat, things of great refreshment. Francis Bacon.

    His offering soon propitious fire from heaven
    Consum’d with nimble glance and grateful steam. John Milton.

    While the temple smoak’d with hallow’d steam,
    They wash the virgin. Dryden.

    Such the figure of a feast
    Which, were it not for plenty and for steam,
    Might be resembled to a sick man’s dream. King.

    Some it bears in steams up into the air, and this in such a quantity as to be manifest to the smell, especially the sulphur. John Woodward, Natural History.

  2. To Steamverb

    Etymology: steman , Saxon.

    Scarcely had Phœbus in the gloomy east,
    Got harnassed his fiery-footed team,
    Ne rear’d above the earth his flaming crest
    When the last deadly smoke aloft did steam. Fairy Queen.

    See, see, my brother’s ghost hangs hovering there,
    O’er his warm blood, that steams into the air. Dryden.

    O wretched we! Why were we hurry’d down
    This lubrick and adult’rate age;
    Nay, added fat pollutions of our own,
    T’ increase the steaming ordures of the stage? Dryden.

    Let the crude humours dance
    In heated brass, steaming with fire intense. Philips.

    These minerals not only issue out at these larger exits, but steam forth through the pores of the earth, occasioning sulphureous and other offensive stenches. John Woodward.

    Ye mists that rise from steaming lake. John Milton.

    The dissolved amber plainly swam like a thin film upon the liquour, whence it steamed away into the air. Boyle.


  1. Steam

    Steam is a substance containing water in the gas phase,: 7  and sometimes also an aerosol of liquid water droplets, or air. This may occur due to evaporation or due to boiling, where heat is applied until water reaches the enthalpy of vaporization. Steam that is saturated or superheated is invisible; however, wet steam or water vapor, a visible mist or aerosol of water droplets, is often referred to as "steam".: 6 Water increases in volume by 1,700 times at standard temperature and pressure; this change in volume can be converted into mechanical work by steam engines such as reciprocating piston type engines and steam turbines, which are a sub-group of steam engines. Piston type steam engines played a central role in the Industrial Revolution and modern steam turbines are used to generate more than 80% of the world's electricity. If liquid water comes in contact with a very hot surface or depressurizes quickly below its vapor pressure, it can create a steam explosion.


  1. steam

    Steam is the gaseous phase of water that is formed when it is heated to the boiling point. It is often associated with being an effective source of energy, as it is used to power steam engines and turbines. Its uses also extend to cooking, cleaning, and heating systems.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Steamnoun

    the elastic, aeriform fluid into which water is converted when heated to the boiling points; water in the state of vapor

  2. Steamnoun

    the mist formed by condensed vapor; visible vapor; -- so called in popular usage

  3. Steamnoun

    any exhalation

  4. Steamverb

    to emit steam or vapor

  5. Steamverb

    to rise in vapor; to issue, or pass off, as vapor

  6. Steamverb

    to move or travel by the agency of steam

  7. Steamverb

    to generate steam; as, the boiler steams well

  8. Steamverb

    to exhale

  9. Steamverb

    to expose to the action of steam; to apply steam to for softening, dressing, or preparing; as, to steam wood; to steamcloth; to steam food, etc

  10. Etymology: [OE. stem, steem, vapor, flame, AS. stem vapor, smoke, odor; akin to D. stoom steam, perhaps originally, a pillar, or something rising like a pillar; cf. Gr. sty`ein to erect, sty^los a pillar, and E. stand.]


  1. Steam

    Steam is the technical term for water vapor, the gaseous phase of water, which is formed when water boils. Water vapor cannot be seen, though in common language it is often used to refer to the visible mist of water droplets formed as this water vapor condenses in the presence of cooler air. Strictly speaking, in terms of the chemistry and physics, true steam is invisible. At lower pressures, such as in the upper atmosphere or at the top of high mountains water boils at a lower temperature than the nominal 100 °C at standard temperature and pressure. If heated further it becomes superheated steam. The enthalpy of vaporization is the energy required to turn water into the gaseous form when it increases in volume by 1,600 times at standard temperature and pressure; this change in volume can be converted into mechanical work by steam engines and steam turbines. Steam engines played a central role to the Industrial Revolution and modern steam turbines are used to generate electricity. If liquid water comes in contact with a very hot substance it can create a steam explosion. Steam explosions have been responsible for many foundry accidents, and may also have been responsible for much of the damage to the plant in the Chernobyl accident.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Steam

    stēm, n. the vapour of water—when dry, invisible and transparent like air, and not to be confused with the semi-liquid cloud which comes from the chimney of a locomotive; when superheated, changing the characteristics of a vapour for those belonging to what is known as a 'perfect gas:' the mist formed by condensed vapour: any vaporous exhalation: energy, force, spirit.—v.i. to rise or pass off in steam or vapour: to move by steam.—v.t. to expose to steam.—ns. Steam′boat, Steam′ship, Steam′-vess′el, a boat, ship, or vessel propelled by steam; Steam′-boil′er, a boiler for generating steam; Steam′-carriage, a carriage moved by steam on common roads; Steam′-chest, -dome, a chamber above a steam-boiler serving as a reservoir for steam; Steam′-crane, a crane worked by a steam-engine; Steam′-dig′ger, a machine for digging the soil by means of steam-power, the soil being thereby much more thoroughly pulverised than by ploughing; Steam′-en′gine, an engine or machine which changes heat into useful work through the medium of steam; Steam′er, a vessel moved by steam: a road-locomotive, &c.: a vessel in which articles are steamed; Steam′-gauge, an instrument for measuring the pressure of steam in a boiler; Steam′-gov′ernor, the governor of a steam-engine; Steam′-gun, a gun projecting a missile by means of steam; Steam′-hamm′er, a hammer consisting of a steam cylinder and piston placed vertically over an anvil, the hammer moved by the action of the steam; Steam′iness, the quality of being vaporous or misty; Steam′-jack′et, a hollow casing surrounding any vessel and into which steam may be admitted; Steam′-launch (see Launch); Steam′-navigā′tion, the propulsion of vessels by steam; Steam′-nav′vy, an excavator operated by steam in the making of docks, canals, &c.; Steam′-pack′et, a steam-vessel plying between certain ports; Steam′-pipe, a pipe for conveying steam; Steam′-plough, a plough or gang of ploughs worked by a steam-engine; Steam′-pow′er, the force of steam when applied to machinery; Steam′-press, a printing-press worked by steam; Steam′-print′ing, printing in which the presses are operated by steam; Steam′-trap, a contrivance for allowing the passage of water while preventing the passage of steam; Steam′-tug, a small steam-vessel used in towing ships; Steam′-whis′tle, an apparatus attached to a steam-engine through which steam is discharged, producing a sound in the manner of a common whistle.—adj. Steam′y, consisting of, or like, steam: full of steam or vapour.—n. Steam′-yacht, a yacht propelled by steam. [A.S. steám; cog. with Dut. stoom.]

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Steam

    Water in its gaseous state. (From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 6th ed)

Suggested Resources

  1. steam

    The steam symbol -- In this Symbols.com article you will learn about the meaning of the steam symbol and its characteristic.

  2. steam

    Song lyrics by steam -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by steam on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'steam' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3472

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'steam' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3989

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'steam' in Nouns Frequency: #1437

Anagrams for steam »

  1. AEMTs

  2. mates

  3. meats

  4. satem

  5. Satem

  6. tames

  7. teams

  8. stema

How to pronounce steam?

How to say steam in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of steam in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of steam in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of steam in a Sentence

  1. Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver:

    The euro area is confronting flat growth and deflation. Beyond Europe, the growth rates of key emerging economies – China and India – are losing steam, geopolitical crises – in Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria – pose serious risks, complicating the recovery.

  2. John Mason Good:

    Happiness consists in activity. It is running steam, not a stagnant pool.

  3. Harry Emerson Fosdick:

    No steam or gas drives anything until it is confined. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.

  4. Chekov of Tolstoy:

    Reason and Justice tell me that there is more love of man in electricity and steam, than in chastity and refusal to eat meat.

  5. Harry Emerson Fosdick:

    No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for steam

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"steam." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 2 Oct. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/steam>.

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    pose a threat to; present a danger to
    • A. jeopardize
    • B. emerge
    • C. conceal
    • D. refine

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