Entries linking to steamboat
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]
"small open vessel (smaller than a ship) used to cross waters, propelled by oars, a sail, or (later) an engine," Middle English bot, from Old English bat, from Proto-Germanic *bait- (source also of Old Norse batr, Dutch boot, German Boot), which is possibly from PIE root *bheid- "to split" (Watkins), if the notion is of making a boat by hollowing out a tree trunk or from split planking. Or it may be an extension of the name for some part of a ship.
French bateau "boat" is from Old English or Norse. Spanish batel, Italian battello, Medieval Latin batellus likewise probably are from Germanic languages. Of serving vessels resembling a boat, by 1680s (ship for "serving vessel or utensil shaped like a ship" is attested by 1520s). The image of being in the same boat "subject to similar challenges and difficulties" is by 1580s; to rock the boat "disturb stability" is from 1914.
updated on September 18, 2012