American English

Definition of steam noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1the hot gas that water changes into when it boils Steam rose from the boiling kettle. a Turkish steam bath
  2. 2the power that is produced from steam under pressure, used to operate engines, machines, etc. the introduction of steam in the 18th century steam power the steam age a steam train/engine
  3. 3very small drops of water that form in the air or on cold surfaces when warm air suddenly cools synonym condensation She wiped the steam from her glasses.
  4. Idioms
    full speed/steam ahead
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    with as much speed or energy as possible
    get, etc. somewhere under your own steam (informal)
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    to go somewhere without help from other people I'll get to the party under my own steam.
    let/blow off (some) steam (informal)
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    to get rid of your energy, anger, or strong emotions by doing something active or noisy I went for a long walk to let off some steam.
      pick up steam
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    1. 1(informal) to become gradually more powerful, active, etc. His election campaign is beginning to pick up steam.
    2. 2(of a vehicle) to increase speed gradually
    run out of steam (informal)
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    to lose energy and enthusiasm and stop doing something, or do it less well
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: steam