What Does "Blow off Steam" Mean?

An idiom is a turn of phrase that usually doesn't make sense when literally translated.
Getting together with a friend is one way to blow off steam.
Having a few drinks at a pub may help someone blow off steam.
There are many ways of getting rid of stress, including "blowing off steam."
Sometimes, sitting for a few minutes with a cup of coffee can help a person blow off steam.
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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2014
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The English language includes many idiomatic expressions. The phrase "blow off steam" refers a person who relieves stress with some form of extreme activity or behavior. Some examples include yelling, exercising, fighting, or drinking alcohol. This describes any activity that relieves pressure caused by stress.

The phrase blow off steam came from a historical reference to steam engines. These engines used pressure relief valves to let the steam out of the motor compartment. This ensured the motor wouldn't blow up with too much pressure. Stress and anxiety can be compared to the pressure of a steam engine, which needs to be released or a person could have an emotional breakdown.

People who need to blow off steam need to do something fun and entertaining to vent frustrations. This is a common phrase used after a stressful day at work. Many people go to happy hour at local pubs or breweries to drink and vent about bad things that caused stress during the day.

Stress can be extremely harmful to the human body and is known to cause serious health issues. It is better to blow off steam then to keep stress bottled up inside. One of the best ways to relieve stress is to perform rigorous exercise on a regular basis. This exercise routine helps the body release tension and frustration, while improving physical conditioning.


Another great way to blow off steam is to meditate and practice yoga. Many relaxation techniques can be used during meditation. This type of stress reliever is one of the best ways to calm the body and mind after a stressful day.

Bad traffic and long commutes can cause unnecessary stress. After a long commute, a person needs to blow off steam. He needs to unwind and relax before engaging in any productive conversation. Getting a cup of coffee and reading a newspaper can resolve this stress. He needs to have a few minutes to unwind and forget about the crazy traffic that caused him stress.

Many people go dancing or partying with friends as a way to blow off steam. This is way to cut loose and let the hair down for a few hours with no worries. Having a good time is a healthy way to reduce stress but should be done in moderation.


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