blow off steam


blow off steam


  • get rid of any intense feelings or strong emotions.
  • to engage in activities that help relieve stress or tension, usually by venting emotions or frustrations.
  • used to experience a psychological release or purification by expressing emotions or engaging in certain activities.
  • sharing feelings or concerns with someone to get them off one’s chest and feel a sense of relief.
  • allowing oneself to be carefree and have fun as a way of escaping the pressures of daily life.

Example Sentences

  1. After a long week at work, I like to blow off steam by going for a run in the park.
  2. Instead of arguing, they decided to blow off steam by playing a friendly game of basketball.
  3. The team went out for dinner to blow off some steam after a tough loss in the championship.
  4. Jane often blows off steam by spending quiet evenings reading a good book.
  5. When stress builds up, taking a day off to relax and do nothing is a great way to blow off steam.

Origin and History

Originating in the nineteenth century, the word “blow off steam” has emerged as a famous idiom used in the English language. The word was coined to explain the act of expressing pent-up feelings or frustration via a cathartic activity. To delve into its captivating history, allow us to discover its backstory, thrilling facts, variants, and the origin of the word.

The expression “blow off steam” originates from a comparison to the pressure release valve commonly found in steam engines, widely used during the First Industrial Revolution. These engines required the buildup of pressurized steam to operate properly. However, without a valve to let out the extra pressure, catastrophic effects would occur. The inclusion of a valve to emancipate the accumulated steam guaranteed the secure functioning of the engine. Hence, people started the usage of this idiomatic expression in their regular lives, correlating the importance for human beings to emancipate their very own emotional or mental pressures to maneuver through life peacefully.

As a fact, it is believed that the valve homology may be traced further back to the postulation of historical Greek catharsis, in which looking at tragic performances in the odeon became a means to cleanse the audience’s emotions. This ritualistic unfettering of emotions serves as a precursor to the concept of “blowing off steam.”

Variants of the word may be determined by special idiomatic figures of speech throughout numerous languages. For instance, in French, “se changer les idées” translates to “alter one’s ideas,” which conveys a comparable sentiment. In German, “Dampf ablassen” directly translates to “letting off steam.” Although the phrases may vary, those expressions all convey the same notion: the need to identify methods to unshackle from emotional anxiety and refresh one’s mind.

Then, colloquialism was first added to literature by the British writer Charles Dickens in his widely acclaimed novel “Bleak House,” published in 1852–1853. Dickens used the word metaphorically, showcasing its correspondence with emotional release. Since then, “blow off steam” has been popularized in culture and is extensively applied today.

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