• synonyms

steam shovel

  1. a machine for digging or excavating, operated by its own engine and boiler.
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Origin of steam shovel

An Americanism dating back to 1875–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for steam-shovel

Historical Examples

  • "We ought to have brought a steam-shovel along," said Rainey.

    A Man to His Mate

    J. Allan Dunn

  • But how would you, say, assert yourself against a medieval steam-shovel?

    The Ego Machine

    Henry Kuttner

  • But strength plows its scornful way through temperament like a steam-shovel.

    I, Mary MacLane

    Mary MacLane

  • A steam-shovel driven by a certain horse-power would be nearly three times as effective there as here.

    Curiosities of the Sky

    Garrett Serviss

  • The spirit of rivalry nowhere counted for more than among the steam-shovel men.

    The Panama Canal

    Frederic Jennings Haskin

British Dictionary definitions for steam-shovel


  1. a steam-driven mechanical excavator, esp one having a large bucket or grab on a beam slung from a revolving jib
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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