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90s Slang You Should Know


[stee-lee] /ˈsti li/
adjective, steelier, steeliest.
consisting or made of steel.
resembling or suggesting steel, as in color, strength, or hardness.
Origin of steely
First recorded in 1500-10; steel + -y1
Related forms
steeliness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for steely
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  • The skies, changing now from a bright to a steely gray, were unmarred by a single wisp of smoke.

    The Candidate Joseph Alexander Altsheler
  • The cold, steely, darkling sweep of desert had been transformed.

  • There was a sudden gleam of steely animation in the Squire's look as he told his story, his eye all the while fixed on Robert.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • Their cold smile was steely, perhaps with the irony the sight inspired.

    The Heart of Unaga Ridgwell Cullum
  • White still held Truedale by the cold, steely gleam of his eyes which was driving lucidity home to the dulled brain.

    The Man Thou Gavest Harriet T. Comstock
Word Origin and History for steely

1580s, from steel (n.) + -y (2). Figurative meaning "hard and cold as steel" is from c.1500. Related: Steeliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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