Word Origin & History
O.E. steam "vapor, fume," from P.Gmc. *staumaz (cf. Du. stoom), of unknown origin. The verb is from O.E. stemen, stymen "to emit a scent or odor;" slang meaning "to make angry" is from 1922. Steamy is first attested 1644; in the sense of "erotic, sexy," it is first recorded 1952. Steamboat is from 1787;
steam-engine is from 1751; steamer is 1814 in the cookery sense, 1825 as "a vessel propelled by steam," hence steamer trunk (1885), one that carries the essentials for a voyage. Steam age first attested 1941. Steam heat as a method of temperature control recorded from 1904. Steam-roller is from 1866; as a verb, first recorded 1912.