Definition of steamer in US English:



  • 1A ship, boat, or locomotive powered by steam.

    • ‘For more than a mile the beach was littered with wrecked ships, including debris from the steamer Curaca which was thrown across the full width of the narrows.’
    • ‘It has been an excursion steamer and a floating restaurant. It often stops at the Essex coast but has never before called at Maldon.’
    • ‘There were fast new attack transports, slow rust-scarred freighters, small ocean liners, Channel steamers, hospital ships, weather-beaten tankers, coaster and swarms of fussing tugs.’
    • ‘Sailing ships, and later steamers, played a vital part in South Australia's History.’
    • ‘Most of the damage was to the older ships, from galleys to galleons and frigates to pre-dreadnaught steamers.’
    • ‘Figureheads were used to add a decorative flourish and prestige to ships and steamers in an age when the vessels were the quickest and most comfortable mode of transport.’
    • ‘She also captured or sunk 14 ships (half of them steamers and most British) in 15 months at sea.’
    • ‘Piers were built to serve sailing vessels and steamers from across the bay.’
    • ‘Most of launches, steamers and other vessels lack mechanical steering and still have manual steering systems that are a century old.’
    • ‘Over the first two months of 1916, the Moewe captured or sank 15 merchant steamers, a total tonnage of 57,835.’
    • ‘A few coastal companies began with sailing ships, while others did so with steamers.’
    • ‘Great Lakes started off with a floating awards banquet, as guests boarded a paddlewheel steamer for dinner and a cruise on the Illinois River.’
    • ‘It is clearly time that the Lake Management planned for size regulations designed differentially for private vessels and those steamers commercially carrying passengers around the lake.’
    • ‘When sailing ships were replaced by steamers and liners, the heavy ropes were no longer in high demand.’
    • ‘In 1909, another leg was added to the jetty, to facilitate a railway line for the loading of timber onto steamers and tall sailing ships.’
    • ‘Serving on sweltering ironclads and steamers or on marginally seaworthy vessels required increased attention to medical care, nutrition, and morale for volunteer citizen-sailors.’
    • ‘Each ship had a commanding officer, but the commanders of the sailing ships were senior to those of the steamers so that they could direct the operations of their respective tenders.’
    • ‘She sank in 1942 on top of the wreck of the Montana, a paddle-wheel steamer that went down on the reefs in 1893.’
    • ‘It might also have the effect of keeping the passage clearer by the more frequent stirring and movement of powerful steamers towing flotillas of keels and lighters.’
    • ‘Until the 1880s the company stuck with sailing ships, but then moved slowly into steamers.’
  • 2A type of saucepan in which food can be steamed.

    • ‘Cook in a steamer until tender, adding the extra half cup of sherry to the liquid in the pan underneath for added moisture.’
    • ‘To cook, place the chicken and its marinade in a large steamer over simmering water, and steam for 20 minutes or until cooked through.’
    • ‘The whole thing was cooked into a sort of cake in the steamer.’
    • ‘Perhaps in preparation for a forced career change, Hayden brought with him a camping stove, frying pan, wok, bamboo steamer and food processor.’
    • ‘Stack the humitas in the steamer, cover the pan tightly, and steam for about 45 minutes.’
    • ‘The rattle of a pudding bowl in the steamer ensures that, two hours later, you have a glorious coconut and jam sponge pudding that evokes childhood.’
    • ‘Placing the assembly on the stove and the lid on the steamer, she checked the kitchen clock, shrugged, and turned the flame to ‘Medium’.’
    • ‘4 Fit the steamer over the pan of simmering water, cover and cook the fish fillets for 4-6 minutes.’
    • ‘Place the cabbage in a steamer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until just tender.’
    • ‘Pat the fish dry and arrange it on a lightly oiled heatproof plate or bowl that will fit into your steamer.’
    • ‘For the verbena infusion: In a large, covered pot, line a steamer with parchment paper that has been slashed to make small vents.’
    • ‘Put the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover and leave to steam away until 2.15 pm. You'll need to check the water from time to time and maybe top it up a bit.’
    • ‘The dim sum was contained in small bamboo food steamers, tiny but delightful, so that you could order varied dishes.’
    • ‘You could try to change little things that make her fat: is there a certain snack she won't stop eating or maybe a frying pan that needs to be swapped for a steamer?’
    • ‘Then put the sponge mix over the top, and cook in the steamer for 20-25 mins.’
    • ‘Place the prepared sweet potato in a steamer and cook until tender, about ten minutes.’
    • ‘Close the shells and pack the mussels tightly into a steamer, or a colander placed in a pan with a little water.’
    • ‘Coat the bottom of a hot steamer with vegetable cooking spray.’
    • ‘Lay the prepared fish in a shallow, heatproof dish that will sit comfortably in your steamer.’
    • ‘Place the ramekins in the prepared steamer and cook until set, about 20 minutes.’
    • ‘For the cinnamon bread: Prepare a hot steamer and pre-heat a deep fryer to 375 degrees.’
  • 3A device used to direct a jet of hot steam on to a garment in order to remove creases.

  • 4informal A wetsuit.

    • ‘Again varies, ranging from requiring a full UK suit in winter to a 5mm steamer or even a shortie wetsuit in summer.’
    • ‘At a distance they look kind of like wetsuits, steamers, but what do they look and feel like up close?’
    • ‘But next time I will bring a thicker wetsuit; a 5mm steamer would be about right for the deeper dives.’
  • 5

    another term for soft-shell clam