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[steel-yahrd, stil-yerd] /ˈstilˌyɑrd, ˈstɪl yərd/
a portable balance with two unequal arms, the longer one having a movable counterpoise and the shorter one bearing a hook or the like for holding the object to be weighed.
Origin of steelyard
First recorded in 1630-40; steel + yard1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for steelyard
Historical Examples
  • The young merchant is seated among his daily surroundings in the steelyard.

    Holbein Beatrice Fortescue
  • The scales and steelyard which we have given are said to have been found at the same time.

    Museum of Antiquity L. W. Yaggy
  • Then Bridget Bolster was put into the box, and she was examined by Mr. steelyard.

    Orley Farm

    Anthony Trollope
  • To this she adhered firmly, and Mr. steelyard handed her over to Mr. Chaffanbrass.

    Orley Farm

    Anthony Trollope
  • There the capture was hung upon one of the hooks of the steelyard.

    Three Boys George Manville Fenn
  • Off the steelyard and at the Tower are men and horses in the water.

    Maps of Old London Anonymous
  • But the steelyard I brought goes to half an ounce, and has saved me a lot of money.

    Dariel R. D. Blackmore
  • To the steelyard came all the traffic of the Orient, all the spices of the merchant.

    Holbein Samuel Levy Bensusan
  • Of Holbein's work for the steelyard, the greater part has been lost.

    Holbein Samuel Levy Bensusan
  • Bows, moreover, may be broken on the steelyard in the weighing of them.

British Dictionary definitions for steelyard


a portable balance consisting of a pivoted bar with two unequal arms. The load is suspended from the shorter one and the bar is returned to the horizontal by adding weights to the longer one
Word Origin
C17: from steel + yard1 (in the archaic sense: a rod or pole)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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