[ steem-roh-ler ]
See synonyms for steamroller on
  1. a heavy steam-powered vehicle having a roller for crushing, compacting, or leveling materials used for a road or the like.

  2. (not in technical use) any similar vehicle with a roller.

  1. an overpowering force, especially one that crushes all opposition with ruthless disregard for individual rights.

verb (used with object)
  1. to crush or flatten with a steamroller.

  2. to overcome with superior force: to steamroller the competition.

  1. to bring about the adoption of by overwhelming pressure: to steamroller the resolution through.

verb (used without object)
  1. to proceed with implacable force.

  1. suggestive of a steamroller; ruthlessly overpowering: steamroller tactics.

Origin of steamroller

First recorded in 1865–70; steam + roller1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use steamroller in a sentence

  • Miss Moore has already prewritten her counterblast to my criticism in her poem "to a Steam Roller."

    Instigations | Ezra Pound
  • Time's a regular steam-roller when it comes to smoothing out the rough spots in the past.

    The Trail of '98 | Robert W. Service
  • You cannot endow even the best machine with initiative; the jolliest steam-roller will not plant flowers.

    A Preface to Politics | Walter Lippmann
  • I captured nothing but a taste for alcohol which brought me eventually beneath the steam roller.

    The Belovd Vagabond | William J. Locke
  • Were it not the silliest legend invented by man, I should say to you 'Beware of the steam roller.'

    The Belovd Vagabond | William J. Locke

British Dictionary definitions for steamroller


steam roller

/ (ˈstiːmˌrəʊlə) /

    • a steam-powered vehicle with heavy rollers at the front and rear used for compressing road surfaces during road-making

    • another word for roadroller

    • an overpowering force or a person with such force that overcomes all opposition

    • (as modifier): steamroller tactics

  1. (tr) to crush (opposition, etc) by overpowering force

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