- 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.
Origin of steam engine
First recorded in 1745–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for steam-engine
If God be not, then steam-engine and flower are in the same category.
No; the steam-engine is the better thing, for it has the soul of a man in it, and the flower has no soul at all.
Let us suppose ourselves to be in a building in which a steam-engine is at work.The Machinery of the Universe
Amos Emerson Dolbear
He leaves it to the specialist, which is as if he should leave his dinner to be eaten by a steam-engine.Howards End
E. M. Forster
Talk of a deer, the wind, or a steam-engine—they are not to be compared with it.Among the Pines
James R. Gilmore
- an engine that uses the thermal energy of steam to produce mechanical work, esp one in which steam from a boiler is expanded in a cylinder to drive a reciprocating piston
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for steam-engine
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.