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steam (n.)

Old English steam "vapor, fume, water in a gaseous state," from Proto-Germanic *staumaz (source also of Dutch stoom "steam"), of unknown origin. Meaning "vapor of boiling water used to drive an engine" is from 1690s, hence steam age (1828) and many figurative uses, such as let off steam (1831, literal), blow off steam (1857, figurative), full-steam (1878), get up steam (1887, figurative). Steam heat is from 1820s in thermodynamics; as a method of temperature control from 1904.

We have given her six months to consider the matter, and in this steam age of the world, no woman ought to require a longer time to make up her mind. [Sarah Josepha Hale, "Sketches of American Character," 1828]
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steam (v.)
Old English stiemen, stymen "emit vapor, emit a scent or odor," from the root of steam (n.). Meaning "go by steam power" is from 1831. Transitive sense from 1660s, "to emit as steam;" meaning "to treat with steam" is from 1798. Slang steam up (transitive) "make (someone) angry" is from 1922. Related: Steamed; steaming.
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steam-roller (n.)
also steamroller, 1866, from steam (n.) + roller. As a verb, first recorded 1912 (steam-roll (v.) is from 1879). Related: Steam-rollered.
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steamship (n.)
also steam-ship, 1819, from steam (n.) + ship (n.).
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steampunk (n.)
also steam-punk, by 1992, perhaps 1989, from steam (as in Age of Steam) + punk (n.), probably on model of cyberpunk (1986).
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steamy (adj.)
1640s, "vaporous, misty, abounding in steam," from steam + -y (2); in the sense of "erotic, sexy," it is first recorded 1952. Related: Steamily; steaminess.
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steamer (n.)
1814 in the cookery sense, agent noun from steam (v.). From 1825 as "a vessel propelled by steam," hence steamer trunk (1885), one that carries the essentials for a voyage.
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steam-engine (n.)
1751; earlier in the same sense was fire-engine (1722), atmospheric engine.
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