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let off steam

Meaning: If you let off steam, you do something to release pent-up emotion or energy.

For example:

  • After sitting quietly in class all morning, kids need time to let off steam in the playground before going back to class in the afternoon.

  • It'd be good to have a punching bag somewhere in the office so we could let off steam whenever we get a bit angry or frustrated.

Note: To "blow off steam" has the same meaning.

Origin: This idiom probably comes from the fact that boiling water produces steam which creates high pressure that will cause an explosion if it isn't released somehow.

Quick Quiz:

Mario needed to let off steam so he
  1. went to sleep
  2. ran around the house
  3. read a book

Discuss: let off steam

Idiom of the Day

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