Blow off steam meaning & examples

The image shows a businessman with a hot water kettle instead of his head. Hot steam escapes from the kettle, illustrating the concept of the idiom blow off steam. "The pressure of the business negotiations became so intense that Mark stepped outside the meeting room to do a 3-minute deep breathing exercise to blow off steam."

Idiom - blow off steam meaning

blow off steam meaning

  • To release or let out stress or frustration that has built up inside over a period of time.

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong?

You sleep through your alarm and then you're late for work. You forget to bring your lunch and you don't have time before a meeting to go buy a sandwich. The meeting is a disaster that lasts almost five hours. Then you have a two-hour commute home because there was an accident on the highway.

How do you feel?

Probably tense, frustrated, angry, tired and ready to scream! Well, if you are alone in the car then go ahead and scream to blow off some steam! When you get home, lace up your running shoes to blow off some more steam.

Idiom notes:

To blow off steam means you release your stress or frustration, especially when this pressure has increased over a period of time. As the pressure builds inside, you feel like you have to release it so that you can feel calmer and relax.

As we know, idioms have figurative meanings not literal meanings. So, your head won't literally explode like the tea kettle in the image above. But this idiom describes the idea that when a lot of steam build up inside some type of machine or a tea kettle that's boiling water, there will be an explosion if some of the pressure is not released.

This is a common idiom that people use to describe doing something to temporarily feel better by releasing negative feelings or energy. Common activities that people do to blow off steam include exercise, dancing, yelling, going for a walk and any other way that help express emotions or use energy.

Example sentences

— After a long day at work, I like to go for a run to blow off steam.

— Emily blew off steam by shouting into a pillow when she was feeling overwhelmed.

— My favorite way to blow off steam after studying for exams is to play video games.

— I had a problem with alcohol so now I dance like crazy instead of drinking to blow off steam.

— Oh great, my dad is singing loudly in the shower again. He must need to blow off some steam and relieve stress.

— Hey, kids, instead of fighting and bickering, why don't you go blow off steam by jumping on the trampoline in the backyard?

— It's weird but I actually blow off steam by painting. It's something about the way it helps me express my emotions.

— I don't want to have another argument. I think you should go blow off some steam and we can try to talk about this later.

— Whenever my son feels stressed, he blows off steam by kicking a soccer ball around.

— I can tell you are really stressed. Should we blow off steam by going to a comedy club tonight

— My boyfriend used to blow off steam by coming home from work and yelling at me. Actually, he's now my ex-boyfriend.

— During the frustrating traffic on the way to work, Tom blew off steam by making funny faces at himself in the rearview mirror.

— My boss was about to meltdown when his computer crashed. He blew off steam by taking my laptop and yelling at me to go try to fix his.

— Rebecca blew off steam by taking a yoga class and laughing at herself when she couldn't do the poses perfectly.

— Our new office manager organized a team-building activity to help everyone blow off steam and have fun together. I actually enjoyed it.


  • let off steam
  • vent one's spleen
  • get something off one's chest

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