steam engine


an engine worked by steam, typically one in which a sliding piston in a cylinder is moved by the expansive action of the steam generated in a boiler.

Nearby words

  1. steam bath,
  2. steam beer,
  3. steam boiler,
  4. steam chest,
  5. steam coal,
  6. steam fitter,
  7. steam fog,
  8. steam hammer,
  9. steam heat,
  10. steam heating

Origin of steam engine

First recorded in 1745–55

Related formssteam-en·gine, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Word Origin and History for steam engine

steam engine


1751; earlier in the same sense was fire engine, atmospheric engine.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for steam engine

steam engine

An engine in which the energy of hot steam is converted into mechanical power, especially an engine in which the force of expanding steam is used to drive one or more pistons. The source of the steam is typically external to the part of the machine that converts the steam energy into mechanical energy. Compare internal-combustion engine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.