let off steam

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Related to let off steam: running out of steam, ran out of steam
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let off (some) steam

1. Literally, to release or emit steam. Should I turn down the heat? That pot is letting off a lot of steam.
2. To release strong emotions or energy by engaging in some kind of enjoyable, vigorous, or relaxing activity. I went on a run to let off steam after our fight. When work gets frustrating, I like to go bowling to let off some steam.
See also: let, off, steam
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

let off (some) steam

 and blow off (some) steam 
1. Lit. [for something] to release steam. The locomotive let off some steam after it came to a halt. With a great hiss, it let off steam and frightened the children.
2. Fig. to work or play off excess energy. Those boys need to get out and let off some steam. Go out and let off steam!
3. Fig. to release one's pent-up emotions, such as anger, usually verbally. I'm sorry I yelled at you. I guess I needed to let off some steam. She's not that mad. She's just letting off steam.
See also: let, off, steam
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

let off steam

mainly BRITISH or

blow off steam

COMMON If you let off steam or blow off steam, you do or say something which helps you to express or get rid of strong feelings of anger about something. Note: The following expressions refer to the use of steam to provide power for a machine, especially a steam engine. Our teams meets every two weeks, giving everyone a chance to let off steam. I was so annoyed, I had to go for a run just to let off steam. The discussions offer students an opportunity to blow off steam about their teachers. Note: The reference here is to steam escaping noisily from the safety valve of a steam engine.
See also: let, off, steam
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

let (or blow) off steam

get rid of pent-up energy or emotion. informal
The image here is of the release of excess steam from a steam engine through a valve.
See also: let, off, steam
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

ˌlet off ˈsteam

(informal) release energy, strong feelings, nervous tension, etc. by intense physical activity or noisy behaviour: He lets off steam by going to the gym after work.All children need to let off steam from time to time.
See also: let, off, steam
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

let off steam

See also: let, off, steam
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

let off steam, to

To give vent to one’s feelings, or to work off excess energy. The term comes from the safety valve in steam locomotives, which prevented steam from building up to the point of exploding. Henry James used it in a letter in 1869, “I feel an irresistible need to let off steam periodically and confide to a sympathetic ear.” See also blow off steam.
See also: let, off, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Half term is coming up -and if your kids need to let off steam, PGL have swinging discounts on their activity breaks.
POPULAR all year are local play gyms which offer a chance for local children to let off steam.
"Whatever the weather they can all let off steam and have a good time."
Thousands of visitors enjoyed the Hall Hill Farm experience over Easter, as over 500 people every day took advantage of the holiday period to see the animals, take a tractor ride and let off steam in The Playbarn.
Australian clinical psychologist Dr Janet Hall backed up the findings and said it was beneficial to let off steam in the office.
COMMUTERS were given the chance to let off steam - with a trip on Stephenson's Rocket.
A BLOGGER who "let off steam" about the way he was treated by police, has been convicted of posting a grossly offensive and menacing message.
ONE of the best radio comedies of recent years returns, as the spoof phone-in show with DJ Gary Bellamy (actually Rhys Thomas) offering his listeners a unique chance to let off steam about whatever is bothering them.
Former Royal Marine Nick Collier is one of the thousands of new businesses the trust has helped start and his Tactical Laser woodland "battleground" in his home town of Knowsley was a great place for the team to let off steam.
``Off-duty officers, thepolice, ambulance and fire brigade were called out, but everyone just stood back and waited until the nine had let off steam and calmed down.
Dancing Dragons also has a kitchen and restaurant facilities to allow parents to watch in comfort when their youngsters let off steam.
Take kickboxing or karate, so you can let off steam. And get to bed earlier--lots of people who are irritable are actually sleep-deprived.
Writing about the match immediately after it is played can be cathartic in that it enables the player to let off steam and also learn from his mistakes and successes.
"Hoping that Hitler might let off steam by attacking Russia, he sacrifices Eastern Europe." US auctioneer Nate D Sanders expects the letter to fetch around [euro]20,000.
Little ones can let off steam in the gallery's newly refurbished play area, with climbing areas, swings and zip-wires.