Difference Wiki

Smoke vs. Steam: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on September 18, 2023
Smoke: A collection of airborne solid and liquid particulates and gases emitted when a material undergoes combustion. Steam: Water vapor formed by the boiling or evaporation of liquid water.

Key Differences

Smoke is a byproduct of combustion, consisting of various particles, gases, and possibly water vapor. It is often associated with fires, industrial processes, and other activities that involve burning materials. On the contrary, Steam is essentially water vapor that forms when water boils or evaporates. It is generally cleaner and does not carry the contaminants found in smoke.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
Smoke is often hazardous to health due to the chemicals and pollutants it contains, including carcinogens. It can be highly toxic and harmful when inhaled, making protective measures necessary in areas with high smoke exposure. Steam, on the other hand, is largely harmless unless it reaches extremely high temperatures, in which case it can cause burns.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
Visually, Smoke tends to be grey or black and can obscure vision due to the particles it carries. Steam appears as a white or transparent mist, largely because it is composed of water vapor and does not contain solid particles. The appearance of both can provide clues to their composition.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
In terms of smell, Smoke usually carries a distinct odor depending on what is being burned. It can range from a woody smell in a fireplace to a more acrid aroma when plastics or synthetic materials are involved. Steam is generally odorless unless it has been infused with other substances, such as in aromatherapy.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
Grammatically, both Smoke and Steam can function as nouns or verbs. To smoke means to emit smoke, while to steam means to emit or be converted into steam. Both terms have found metaphorical uses as well, like "smoking gun" or "letting off steam."
Sara Rehman
Sep 18, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Composition

Solid and liquid particulates and gases
Water vapor
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Health Risks

Often hazardous due to chemicals
Generally harmless unless hot
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Visual Appearance

Grey or black, may obscure vision
White or transparent mist
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Sep 18, 2023

Odor

Distinct, varies by source
Generally odorless
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Grammatical Function

Can be a noun or a verb
Can be a noun or a verb
Janet White
Sep 18, 2023
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Smoke and Steam Definitions

Smoke

A visible indication or trace.
Where there's smoke, there's fire.
Sara Rehman
Sep 18, 2023

Steam

Water vapor from boiled or evaporated water.
The steam rose from the hot springs.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 18, 2023

Smoke

To consume tobacco or other substances by burning.
He went outside to smoke a cigarette.
Janet White
Sep 18, 2023

Steam

To cook food by using steam.
She decided to steam the vegetables.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Smoke

To preserve or flavor food by exposing it to smoke.
We decided to smoke the salmon.
Janet White
Sep 18, 2023

Steam

To emit or be converted into steam.
The kettle began to steam as the water boiled.
Harlon Moss
Sep 18, 2023

Smoke

A screen of smoke used to obscure or protect.
The military used smoke to cover their retreat.
Sara Rehman
Sep 18, 2023

Steam

Hot water vapor produced especially by boiling liquid water.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

A mixture of gases and small suspended particles of soot or other solids, resulting from the burning of materials such as wood or coal.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Hot, pressurized water vapor used for heating, cooking, or to provide mechanical power.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

A cloud of such gases and suspended particles.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Power generated by the expansion of boiling water as it turns to vapor
An engine at full steam.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

A vapor, mist, or fume that resembles this.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Steam heating.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

Something insubstantial, unreal, or transitory
"What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow, mere smoke of opinion" (Henry David Thoreau).
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Condensed water vapor in the form of a mist or cloud
The steam from the teakettle.
The steam of the oxen's breath in the cold air.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

The act of smoking a form of tobacco
Went out for a smoke.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Power; energy
The fundraising effort ran out of steam.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

The duration of this act.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To produce or emit steam
The kettle is steaming. Let's make tea.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(Informal) Tobacco in a form that can be smoked, especially a cigarette
Money to buy smokes.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To become or rise up as steam
The rain steamed off the hot pavement.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

A substance used in warfare to produce a smokescreen.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To become misted or covered with steam
The bathroom mirror steamed over.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

Something used to conceal or obscure.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To move by means of steam power.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

A pale to grayish blue to bluish or dark gray.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

(Informal) To become very angry; fume.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(Baseball) Pitches thrown at high velocity; fast balls
Threw a lot of smoke in the early innings.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To expose to steam, as in cooking.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To draw in and exhale smoke from a cigarette, cigar, or pipe
It's forbidden to smoke here.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To cover or mist with steam
The windows are steamed up.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To engage in smoking regularly or habitually
He smoked for years before stopping.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

(Informal) To make angry
His laziness really steams me.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To emit smoke or a smokelike substance
Chimneys smoking in the cold air.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

The vapor formed when water changes from the liquid phase to the gas phase.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To emit smoke excessively
The station wagon smoked even after the tune-up.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

The suspended condensate (cloud) formed by water vapour when it encounters colder air
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To go or proceed at high speed.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

, fog
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To play or perform energetically
The band was really smoking in the second set.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Exhaled breath into cold air below the dew point of the exhalation
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To draw in and exhale the smoke of (tobacco, for example)
I've never smoked a panatela.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Pressurized water vapour used for heating, cooking, or to provide mechanical energy.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To do so regularly or habitually
I used to smoke filtered cigarettes.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

The act of cooking by steaming.
Give the carrots a ten-minute steam.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To preserve (meat or fish) by exposure to the aromatic smoke of burning hardwood, usually after pickling in salt or brine.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

(figuratively) Internal energy for motive power.
After three weeks in bed he was finally able to sit up under his own steam.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To fumigate (a house, for example).
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

(figuratively) Pent-up anger.
Dad had to go outside to blow off some steam.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To expose (animals, especially insects) to smoke in order to immobilize or drive away.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

A steam-powered vehicle.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To expose (glass) to smoke in order to darken or change its color.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Travel by means of a steam-powered vehicle.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To kill; murder.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

(obsolete) Any exhalation.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To defeat decisively, as in a competition.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

(fencing) Fencing without the use of any electric equipment.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(Baseball) To throw (a pitch) at high velocity.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To cook with steam.
The best way to cook artichokes is to steam them.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(uncountable) The visible vapor/vapour, gases, and fine particles given off by burning or smoldering material.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

(transitive) To expose to the action of steam; to apply steam to for softening, dressing, or preparing.
To steam wood or cloth
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

A cigarette.
Can I bum a smoke off you?;
I need to go buy some smokes.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

(intransitive) To produce or vent steam.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

Anything to smoke (e.g. cigarettes, marijuana, etc.)
Hey, you got some smoke?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

(intransitive) To rise in vapour; to issue, or pass off, as vapour.
Our breath steamed in the cold winter air.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

An instance of smoking a cigarette, cigar, etc.; the duration of this act.
I'm going out for a smoke.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To become angry; to fume; to be incensed.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

A fleeting illusion; something insubstantial, evanescent, unreal, transitory, or without result.
The excitement behind the new candidate proved to be smoke.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To make angry.
It really steams me to see her treat him like that.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

Something used to obscure or conceal; an obscuring condition; see also smoke and mirrors.
The smoke of controversy.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

(intransitive) To be covered with condensed water vapor.
With all the heavy breathing going on the windows were quickly steamed in the car.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(uncountable) A light grey colour/color tinted with blue.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

(intransitive) To travel by means of steam power.
We steamed around the Mediterranean.
The ship steamed out of the harbour.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

Bother; problems; hassle.
You better not be giving me no smoke.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To move with great or excessive purposefulness.
If he heard of anyone picking the fruit he would steam off and lecture them.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

A particulate of solid or liquid particles dispersed into the air on the battlefield to degrade enemy ground or for aerial observation. Smoke has many uses--screening smoke, signaling smoke, smoke curtain, smoke haze, and smoke deception. Thus it is an artificial aerosol.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

(obsolete) To exhale.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

A fastball.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Old-fashioned; from before the digital age.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(countable) A distinct column of smoke, such as indicating a burning area or fire.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

The elastic, aëriform fluid into which water is converted when heated to the boiling point; water in the state of vapor.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(transitive) To inhale and exhale the smoke from a burning cigarette, cigar, pipe, etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

The mist formed by condensed vapor; visible vapor; - so called in popular usage.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(intransitive) To inhale and exhale tobacco smoke.
Do you smoke?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Any exhalation.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(intransitive) To give off smoke.
My old truck was still smoking even after the repairs.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To emit steam or vapor.
My brother's ghost hangs hovering there,O'er his warm blood, that steams into the air.
Let the crude humors danceIn heated brass, steaming with fire intense.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(intransitive) Of a fire in a fireplace: to emit smoke outward instead of up the chimney, owing to imperfect draught.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To rise in vapor; to issue, or pass off, as vapor.
The dissolved amber . . . steamed away into the air.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(transitive) To preserve or prepare (food) for consumption by treating with smoke.
You'll need to smoke the meat for several hours.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To move or travel by the agency of steam.
The vessel steamed out of port.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(transitive) To dry or medicate by smoke.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To generate steam; as, the boiler steams well.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To fill or scent with smoke; hence, to fill with incense; to perfume.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To exhale.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To make unclear or blurry.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To expose to the action of steam; to apply steam to for softening, dressing, or preparing; as, to steam wood; to steamcloth; to steam food, etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To perform (e.g. music) energetically or skillfully.
The horn section was really smokin' on that last tune.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Water at boiling temperature diffused in the atmosphere
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To beat someone at something.
We smoked them at rugby.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Travel by means of steam power;
The ship steamed off into the Pacific
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To kill, especially with a gun.
He got smoked by the mob.
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Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Emit steam;
The rain forest was literally steaming
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Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To thrash; to beat.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Rise as vapor
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Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To smell out; to hunt out; to find out; to detect.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Get very angry;
Her indifference to his amorous advances really steamed the young man
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To ridicule to the face; to mock.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Clean by means of steaming;
Steam-clean the upholstered sofa
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To burn; to be kindled; to rage.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

Cook something by letting steam pass over it;
Just steam the vegetables
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To raise a dust or smoke by rapid motion.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

A force generated by the application of steam.
The steam engine revolutionized transportation.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 18, 2023

Smoke

To suffer severely; to be punished.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Steam

To be covered in a mist of water droplets.
The bathroom started to steam up during the shower.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Smoke

To punish (a person) for a minor offense by excessive physical exercise.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(transitive) To cover (a key blank) with soot or carbon to aid in seeing the marks made by impressioning.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

The visible exhalation, vapor, or substance that escapes, or expelled, from a burning body, especially from burning vegetable matter, as wood, coal, peat, or the like.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

That which resembles smoke; a vapor; a mist.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

Anything unsubstantial, as idle talk.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

The act of smoking, esp. of smoking tobacco; as, to have a smoke.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To emit smoke; to throw off volatile matter in the form of vapor or exhalation; to reek.
Hard by a cottage chimney smokes.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

Hence, to burn; to be kindled; to rage.
The anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke agains. that man.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To raise a dust or smoke by rapid motion.
Proud of his steeds, he smokes along the field.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To draw into the mouth the smoke of tobacco burning in a pipe or in the form of a cigar, cigarette, etc.; to habitually use tobacco in this manner.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To suffer severely; to be punished.
Some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To apply smoke to; to hang in smoke; to disinfect, to cure, etc., by smoke; as, to smoke or fumigate infected clothing; to smoke beef or hams for preservation.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To fill or scent with smoke; hence, to fill with incense; to perfume.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To smell out; to hunt out; to find out; to detect.
I aloneSmoked his true person, talked with him.
He was first smoked by the old Lord Lafeu.
Upon that . . . I began to smoke that they were a parcel of mummers.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To ridicule to the face; to quiz.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To inhale and puff out the smoke of, as tobacco; to burn or use in smoking; as, to smoke a pipe or a cigar.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

To subject to the operation of smoke, for the purpose of annoying or driving out; - often with out; as, to smoke a woodchuck out of his burrow.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

A cloud of fine particles suspended in a gas
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Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

A hot vapor containing fine particles of carbon being produced by combustion;
The fire produced a tower of black smoke that could be seen for miles
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

An indication of some hidden activity;
With all that smoke there must be a fire somewhere
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

Something with no concrete substance;
His dreams all turned to smoke
It was just smoke and mirrors
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

Tobacco leaves that have been made into a cylinder
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

Street names for marijuana
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

The act of smoking tobacco or other substances;
He went outside for a smoke
Smoking stinks
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

(baseball) a pitch thrown with maximum velocity;
He swung late on the fastball
He showed batters nothing but smoke
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

Inhale and exhale smoke from cigarettes, cigars, pipes;
We never smoked marijuana
Do you smoke?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

Emit a cloud of fine particles;
The chimney was fuming
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2022

Smoke

A byproduct of combustion.
The smoke from the bonfire filled the air.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

FAQs

Is Smoke dangerous?

Smoke can be hazardous due to the chemicals and pollutants it contains.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Can you see through Smoke?

Smoke is usually opaque and can obscure vision.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 18, 2023

Is Steam dangerous?

Steam is generally harmless unless extremely hot, where it can cause burns.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Are there metaphorical uses for "Steam"?

Yes, like "letting off steam" to denote emotional release.
Harlon Moss
Sep 18, 2023

What is Steam?

Steam is water vapor formed when water boils or evaporates.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Is Steam always white?

Steam usually appears as white or transparent mist.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 18, 2023

What is Smoke?

Smoke is a byproduct of combustion consisting of airborne particulates and gases.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Does Steam have a smell?

Steam is generally odorless unless infused with other substances.
Janet White
Sep 18, 2023

Can "Smoke" be a verb?

Yes, "to smoke" can mean to emit smoke or to consume substances by burning.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Is Smoke always black?

No, Smoke's color can vary depending on the source material.
Janet White
Sep 18, 2023

Can you see through Steam?

Steam is generally transparent or white mist and does not obscure vision.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 18, 2023

Does Smoke have a smell?

Yes, Smoke carries a distinct odor depending on what is burned.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

What's the main difference between Smoke and Steam?

Smoke is a byproduct of combustion, while Steam is water vapor formed from boiling or evaporating water.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Can "Steam" be a verb?

Yes, "to steam" can mean to emit steam or to cook food using steam.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Are there metaphorical uses for "Smoke"?

Yes, like "smoke and mirrors" to denote deception.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 18, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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