Definition of steamroller in English:



  • 1A heavy, slow-moving vehicle with a roller, used to flatten the surfaces of roads during construction.

    ‘after each truckload of earth fell, a steamroller flattened it’
    • ‘While some fragments of buildings and heaps of distinguishable rubble littered the area, most of the area was flattened as if paved by a steamroller.’
    • ‘Watched by thousands, almost 5,000 weapons were flattened by a steamroller or burnt in a pyre.’
    • ‘A lone steamroller trundled along what was supposed to be the car park.’
    • ‘The city passed a resolution in 1987 to name a street in a new development in Rivière-des-Prairies after L' Ouverture, but the steamrollers never touched the tarmac.’
    • ‘In a single night, the scaffolding was removed from the facades, the steamrollers left the streets, and the earthmovers departed from the parks.’
    • ‘A glance over the port rail revealed a steamroller lying on the seabed at 70m.’
    • ‘The steamroller was now a rusty, immobile, piece of heavy machinery.’
    • ‘Clear the road and keep an eye out for the steamroller.’
    • ‘Then he brought in steamrollers to flatten the rubble like parking lots.’
    • ‘Obscene video tapes and counterfeit CD-ROMs are sometimes ordered crushed by steamrollers, and I believe mobile phones should suffer the same fate.’
    • ‘A number of men were working on the road and it is believed the steamroller rolled back dragging Mr Brown underneath.’
    • ‘I have seen drivers behind the wheels of steamrollers and backhoes, working with freakish intensity, doing the bidding of a boozemaster who had dangled twelve-packs before them.’
    • ‘Beside the A6 near Garstang was a family concern contracting with threshing machines, traction engines and steamrollers.’
    • ‘The roadworkers used machinery such as the steamroller and crusher depicted.’
    • ‘Everything from show engines to traction engines, steamrollers and steam tractors kept spectators intrigued.’
    • ‘Now the firm whose steamrollers, traction engines, steam trams, trains and grass cutting equipment contributed to the city's industrial heritage has been recognised.’
    • ‘Otherwise this year's gathering will remain untouched featuring everything from traditional fairground rides to traction engines, steamrollers and wagons.’
    • ‘‘People are now more religious,’ he says above the din of a steamroller smashing chunks of granite into a foundation for the new road.’
    • ‘Mr Oldfield, of London Road, Clacton, drove steamrollers used to surface the town's first roads and many in the surrounding district in the early half of the 20th century.’
    • ‘Until yesterday morning Jack McConnell was standing in the middle of the road watching a steamroller coming towards him.’
    1. 1.1An oppressive and relentless power or force.
      ‘victims of an ideological steamroller’
      • ‘I reach behind me and feel my lower back, where it had felt like I'd been run over by a steamroller repeatedly.’
      • ‘He was a steamroller at guard, but now he's playing a new position.’
      • ‘Telling my parents ‘No’ is like talking to a steamroller: they don't listen, and insist on plowing you over or dragging you along whether you like it or not.’
      • ‘This is hardly the place to rehearse the errors and elisions in his original article, or the way it allows its thesis like a steamroller to flatten the facts.’
      • ‘Yet neither his words nor the progressive education movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s could stop the political steamroller of testing.’
      • ‘In the First, the Russian steamroller, after initial advances, was put into reverse; in the Second, the Red Army, after severe setbacks, advanced into the centre of Europe.’
      • ‘But he came in here and he was flattened like a bit of bread under a steamroller.’
      • ‘I record the Opposition's gratitude for the role that the Clerk and his office played in holding back the steamroller of the executive.’
      • ‘The ensuing battle stopped the German steamroller and laid the foundation for what would become years of stalemated, bloody trench warfare.’
      • ‘This technology is coming like a turbo steamroller.’
      • ‘America is the steamroller of modernity, and its forcing the Europeans to adapt.’
      • ‘Yat-Kha's music is a hypnotic mix of rock and folk, played on electric guitars and traditional Tuvan instruments, which one critic described as ‘not unlike having a steamroller driven over your head’.’
      • ‘Lyn never actually saw this fight, but she saw Marco the day after, and he would have looked better if a steamroller had crushed him.’
      • ‘Rather than being a preordained victory for a Prussian steamroller, the war was a fascinating and uncertain contest between two rival military systems.’
      • ‘A lot of people have fought hard to save the schools but the ruling group had made its mind up a long time ago and there was no way we could stop the steamroller.’
      • ‘I protested, but she ran me over with the efficiency of a steamroller.’
      • ‘The story is a steamroller, flattening everything in order to make its ‘big ironic point’.’
      • ‘It is prepared to push on and roll over things like a steamroller.’
      • ‘He's got an ego the size of Ecuador, bad hair, ugly glasses and the kind of ambition that grinds up underlings and flattens more decent people than a steamroller at a Peter, Paul and Mary concert.’
      • ‘But I also hope that, god forbid, if their magazine against all odds becomes a financial success, their love of books and concern for writers isn't crushed out by some corporate steamroller.’


  • 1 (of a government or other authority) forcibly pass (a measure) by restricting debate or otherwise overriding opposition.

    ‘the government's trying to steamroller a law through’
    • ‘The bill looks set to pass into law, and is being steamrollered through Parliament in less than two weeks, by curtailing the time available to debate and scrutinise the proposed legislation.’
    • ‘The Tories denounced him as a crazed self-publicist seeking to usurp more senior figures to steamroller the country into signing up to the single currency.’
    • ‘The row over fox-hunting is now set to reach a climax as the government has pledged to use the Parliament Act to steamroller a hunting ban into law if the House of Lords rejects the Bill.’
    • ‘Despite wholesale opposition to the proposal, it is moving ever closer to becoming reality after being steamrollered through by the board at the club's AGM on Monday.’
    • ‘Significantly, the two parties came together in the parliament to steamroller through the legislation creating the three new states.’
    • ‘And they used the Parliament Act 1949 to steamroller the legislation onto the statute books.’
    • ‘It is an institution that encourages the rich and powerful to steamroller aside all opposition, if they can.’
    • ‘Pro-hunters fear that if peers refuse to back the Commons this time the Government will use the Parliament Acts to steamroller a ban into law.’
    • ‘If the Government has to steamroller the ban through using the Parliament Act it will come into force immediately, bringing the prospect of huge protests and rural unrest.’
    • ‘This will certainly give opponents another point of attack, once the Government steamrollers the bill through Parliament.’
    • ‘But Michael Howard accused the Prime Minister of being ‘arrogant’ for steamrollering the new anti-terrorist powers through Parliament.’
    • ‘He called for all MPs to ask the Chancellor to consult small business groups before trying to steamroller through the controversial measures.’
    • ‘Having failed to steamroller the United Nations Security Council into supporting its invasion, the US has created a tinpot ‘coalition of the willing’ instead.’
    • ‘He is concerned that Royal Mail intends to steamroller its cost-cutting plans in spite of all opposition.’
    • ‘If that happens, then the threat of the use of the Parliament Act to steamroller the Bill into law looms large.’
    • ‘A big thank you to our excellent MP for standing up for us ‘little people’ when the council threatened to steamroller this through.’
    • ‘If Brown, Cook and Short have serious misgivings, he is running out of senior allies who would help to steamroller any controversial decisions through Cabinet and, if necessary, the House of Commons.’
    • ‘The UP government's mischievous attempt to steamroller the Places of Worship Bill is a case in point.’
    • ‘In response to the challenge, a number of senior Lib Dem MPs have called for Kennedy to accelerate the production of new policy announcements to avoid being steamrollered.’
    • ‘The second chamber needs both independence and a level of strength to prevent any one government steamrollering ill-conceived legislation through parliament.’
    frighten, menace, terrify, scare, alarm, terrorize, overawe, awe, cow, subdue, discourage, daunt, unnerve
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Force (someone) into doing or accepting something.
      ‘an attempt to steamroller the country into political reforms’
      • ‘‘They steamrollered us,’ was John Hughes' simple verdict.’
      • ‘I just wondered how many other people they have steamrollered.’
      • ‘Every person who stands up in protest against the plans makes it that little bit more awkward for the powers-that-be to steamroller ahead.’
      • ‘They simply want to steamroller through developments that have no place in the town.’
      • ‘This wouldn't matter if the material were intrinsically funny, and the performances were strong enough to steamroller the audience into acceptance of the authors' premise.’
      • ‘But it lingered in his mind that if something arose that they had to steamroller through, I would be the type to resign on principle.’
      • ‘I am sure they expected to steamroller through their proposals.’
      • ‘Brussels bureaucrats may try to steamroller us into oneness, but people are stubborn.’
      • ‘Vick proceeded to steamroller the board in the manner to which we have by now become accustomed.’
      • ‘Only with this Labour Council do we have this naked attempt to steamroller through a scheme without proper consultation.’
      • ‘In the front line of her social assaults was her husband Richard, a meek, hen-pecked individual who yearned for a quiet life but instead found himself steamrollered into falling in with his wife's plans.’
      • ‘In 1996, the Scotsman simply steamrollered him, before Ebdon, who abandoned academia to serve his apprenticeship at Kings Cross Snooker Club, finally took on the mantle of the master.’
      • ‘I think the council was trying to steamroller us and gamble that we would not go to the district valuer.’
      • ‘He wants to steamroller ahead with plans to make people save for their old age, rather than compelling the state or the employer to contribute more.’
      • ‘Defeat at Trafalgar ended any hope of maritime supremacy for France, and thus any realistic hope of vanquishing the British, but Napoleon continued to steamroller his continental opponents.’
      • ‘Patience paid off for Martin Hunter's youngsters as they finally steamrollered their opponents after going a goal down just before the break.’
      • ‘The people of Pateley Bridge feel they are being steamrollered into accepting the three-storey building being placed on a corner site on the Southlands car park half way up the High Street.’
      • ‘Global strategies can steamroller people who have a profound insight in local markets for the grace of outsourcing and other large management techniques.’
      • ‘‘Most people in the local communities around here do not want the wind farm but feel as if they are being steamrollered into accepting it,’ said Sophie Dey.’
      • ‘He's capable of steamrollering me and I'm capable of steamrollering him.’