let off (some) 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. © 2015 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 some steam

See also: let, off, steam

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 ?
These were sent in private at a time Malky felt under great pressure and was letting off steam to a friend during some friendly banter.
Normal dancing, even some of the freakish aspects of the cult, is a means of letting off steam but there are limits to exuberance.
By letting off steam and getting your worries off your chest by talking to someone you can trust, you can stop stress from building up to an overwhelming level.
LETTING OFF STEAM: Racing Club Warwick's playscheme participants Alex Watkins, Conal Williams, Harley Webb, Kier Williams and Isaak Watkins
Once out, this awful scene became so much more than a private joke between soldiers letting off steam after a gruelling tour in the world's most dangerous region.
With the Unlucky ones I reckon it's just a way of punters letting off steam or sharing their misery with someone who understands.
"That was my weekend, letting off steam and terrorising centre-halves."
THE oft-repeated excuse for the drinking antics of Princes William and Harry - that they are two young men just letting off steam - is wearing a little thin.
As a child I was in awe of the size, majesty and power of these beasts as they stood, sometimes letting off steam, waiting to haul the endless row of carriages full of lucky people off to some faraway destination.
The veteran comedian and actor (above) concludes his exploration of anger, and finds a few ways of letting off steam, before chatting to celebrities Rory McGrath and Muriel Gray.