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steam engine

an engine worked by steam, typically one in which a sliding piston in a cylinder is moved by the expansive action of the steam generated in a boiler.
Origin of steam engine
Related forms
steam-engine, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for steam-engine
Historical Examples
  • This is said of a steam-engine if reversed, to propel the vessel astern.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • It is said that a steam-engine has been forfeited in this way.

    The Common Law Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
  • The want of the steam-engine vastly augments the cost of its manufacture.

  • He could take to pieces a steam-engine or a watch, and put it together again.

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • That part of a steam-engine in which the steam is utilized to drive the piston.

  • Bentham had joined his brother, and they were looking out for a steam-engine.

  • In recent times there has been a tendency to give to this steam-engine of Hero something more than full meed of appreciation.

  • They always seemed to think that a horse was something like a steam-engine, only smaller.

    Black Beauty Anna Sewell
  • A pipe leading from the bottom of a steam-cylinder to the upper part of the condenser in a steam-engine.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • This steam-engine style of driving wears us up faster than any other kind.

    Black Beauty Anna Sewell
British Dictionary definitions for steam-engine


an engine that uses the thermal energy of steam to produce mechanical work, esp one in which steam from a boiler is expanded in a cylinder to drive a reciprocating piston
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
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Word Origin and History for steam-engine

steam engine


1751; earlier in the same sense was fire engine, atmospheric engine.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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steam-engine in Science
steam engine  

An engine in which the energy of hot steam is converted into mechanical power, especially an engine in which the force of expanding steam is used to drive one or more pistons. The source of the steam is typically external to the part of the machine that converts the steam energy into mechanical energy. Compare internal-combustion engine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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