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Can "steamroller" be used to describe a person like in the following sentence?

He is like a steamroller; nothing will stop him from getting work done.

Or are there any other meanings to the word I don't know of? (English is not my mother tongue.)

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"Like a steamroller" is acceptable usage for describing a person. Dictionary.com (Collins) cites one meaning of steamroller as "an overpowering force or a person with such force that overcomes all opposition." The New York Times has many examples where people are described as such. Here's one: "the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Worrell, who played like a steamroller last night." Another: "Oprah came on like a steamroller but he is not showing any attrition." Sylvia Plath wrote "I need a strong mate: I do not want to crush and subdue him like a steamroller."

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Probably not the best choice "steamroll" as a verb generally means to push through some process/solution crushing all opposition

"Prime Minister Harper intends to steamroller his elimination of...."

"Tories: we'll use ancient laws to steamroller through welfare cuts"

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can you suggest a better word? – cambraca May 22 '12 at 22:16
Unstoppable, tenacious – mgb May 22 '12 at 22:18
"He works like a Trojan," perhaps? – Andrew Leach May 22 '12 at 22:31
@AndrewLeach: I'd avoid that one in the U.S. Yes, it's a perfectly valid idiom, but not heard often here. Plus, Trojan is a leading brand of condoms here, and that's what a lot of people think of when they hear the word. – J.R. May 22 '12 at 22:43
I would drop the -er in your examples. At least that's the way I usually hear it used. – Callithumpian May 23 '12 at 3:24

I am an American boss working in the UK. I recently described my UK sales manager (in his presence) as a steamroller. In my mind it was a compliment and means that he does not stop; he moves mountains to get the job done in a smooth and solid manner.... He sited this in his resignation as a huge offense....stating that I must want some other kind of sales manager - that calling him a steamroller means I see him as big, ineffective and cumbersome. I'm devastated to lose him due to this difference in word definition...its a startling example of how words, that are separated by a common language, can be destructive when misunderstood.

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Welcome to EL&U. You misspelled "sited" in the third line. Why not register your user name, take the tour and visit our help center for additional guidance? – Rathony Jan 21 at 11:49
That's terribly sad... – cambraca Jan 21 at 12:42

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