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.
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- steam bath,
- steam beer,
- steam boiler,
- steam chest,
- steam coal,
- steam fitter,
- steam fog,
- steam hammer,
- steam heat,
- steam heating
Origin of steam engine
First recorded in 1745–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
1751; earlier in the same sense was fire engine, atmospheric engine.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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.