Origin of steamroller

First recorded in 1865–70; steam + roller1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for steamroller

  • The Donald Trump steamroller got run off the road last week, and getting back on track may not be easy.

    The Trump Backlash Begins|Howard Kurtz|May 6, 2011|DAILY BEAST
  • His hard lines and angles project the arrogance of a confidence man, or as Arlyn Imberman puts it, “a steamroller.”

    Bernie's John Hancock|Allan Dodds Frank|March 25, 2009|DAILY BEAST
  • It was like getting a steamroller in motion to start Hickman.

    Pitching in a Pinch|Christy Mathewson

British Dictionary definitions for steamroller


steam roller

/ (ˈstiːmˌrəʊlə) /


  1. a steam-powered vehicle with heavy rollers at the front and rear used for compressing road surfaces during road-making
  2. another word for roadroller
  1. an overpowering force or a person with such force that overcomes all opposition
  2. (as modifier)steamroller tactics


(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