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  1. steam
  2. noun

    • 1. the vapour into which water is converted when heated, forming a white mist of minute water droplets in the air:

      a cloud of steam steam was rising from the mugs of coffee she wiped the steam off the mirror
      Synonym : water vapour, condensation, mist, haze, fog, exhalation, moisture, dampness, fume, smoke
    • 2. the invisible gaseous form of water, formed by boiling, from which this vapour condenses.

    • 3. the expansive force of steam used as a source of power for machines:

      the equipment was originally powered by steam a steam locomotive
    • 4. locomotives and railway systems powered by steam:

      we were trainspotters in the last years of steam
    • 5. energy and momentum or impetus:

      the anti-corruption drive gathered steam


    • 1. give off or produce steam:

      a mug of coffee was steaming at her elbow
    • 2. become or cause something to become covered or misted over with steam:

      the glass keeps steaming up the warm air had begun to steam up the windows
    • 3. cook (food) by heating it in steam from boiling water:

      steam the vegetables until just tender
    • 4. (of food) cook by heating in steam:

      leave the mussels to steam
    • 5. clean or otherwise treat with steam:

      he steamed his shirts to remove the odour
    • 6. apply steam to (something fixed with adhesive) so as to open or loosen it:

      he'd steamed the letter open and then resealed it
    • 7. (of a ship or train) travel somewhere under steam power:

      the 11.54 steamed into the station
    • 8. generate steam in and operate (a steam locomotive):

      you can learn the intricacies of steaming a locomotive for the first time
    • 9. come, go, or move somewhere rapidly or in a forceful way:

      Jeremy steamed in ten minutes late the company has steamed ahead with its investment programme
    • 10. start or join a fight:

      he'll be the one to throw the first punch, then run to the back when the others steam in
    • 11. (of a gang of thieves) move rapidly through a public place, stealing things or robbing people on the way:

      they led a gang which steamed through shops, stealing and threatening violence
    • 12. be or become extremely agitated or angry:

      you got all steamed up over nothing! after steaming behind the closed door in his office, he came out and screamed at her
  3. Variation

    • v.: verb: steam, 3rd person present: steams, gerund or present participle: steaming, past tense: steamed, past participle: steamed