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.)

2 Answers 2


"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."


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"

  • can you suggest a better word?
    – cambraca
    Commented May 22, 2012 at 22:16
  • 3
    Unstoppable, tenacious
    – mgb
    Commented May 22, 2012 at 22:18
  • 1
    "He works like a Trojan," perhaps?
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented May 22, 2012 at 22:31
  • 2
    @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.
    Commented May 22, 2012 at 22:43
  • I would drop the -er in your examples. At least that's the way I usually hear it used. Commented May 23, 2012 at 3:24

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