[ steel ]
See synonyms for: steelsteeledsteelersteelest on

  1. any of various modified forms of iron, artificially produced, having a carbon content less than that of pig iron and more than that of wrought iron, and having qualities of hardness, elasticity, and strength varying according to composition and heat treatment: generally categorized as having a high, medium, or low-carbon content.

  2. a thing or things made of this metal.

  1. a flat strip of this metal used for stiffening, especially in corsets; stay.

  2. a bar of this metal that has one end formed to hold a bit for driving through rock.

  3. steels, stocks or bonds of companies producing this metal.

  4. a sword.

  5. a rounded rod of ridged steel, fitted with a handle and used especially for sharpening knives.

  1. pertaining to or made of steel.

  2. like steel in color, hardness, or strength.

verb (used with object)
  1. to fit with steel, as by pointing, edging, or overlaying.

  2. to cause to resemble steel in some way.

  1. to render insensible, inflexible, unyielding, determined, etc.: He steeled himself to perform the dangerous task.

Origin of steel

before 900; (noun) Middle English stele,Old English (north) stēle; cognate with Dutch staal,German Stahl,Old Norse stāl; (v.) Middle English stelen,Old English styled edged with steel, derivative of the noun

Other words from steel

  • steellike, adjective
  • pre·steel, noun, adjective

Words that may be confused with steel

Words Nearby steel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use steel in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for steel (1 of 2)


/ (stiːl) /

    • any of various alloys based on iron containing carbon (usually 0.1–1.7 per cent) and often small quantities of other elements such as phosphorus, sulphur, manganese, chromium, and nickel. Steels exhibit a variety of properties, such as strength, machinability, malleability, etc, depending on their composition and the way they have been treated

    • (as modifier): steel girders See also stainless steel

  1. something that is made of steel

  1. a steel stiffener in a corset, etc

  2. a ridged steel rod with a handle used for sharpening knives

  3. the quality of hardness, esp with regard to a person's character or attitudes

  4. stock exchange the quotation for steel shares: See also steels

  5. (modifier) resembling steel: steel determination

  1. to fit, plate, edge, or point with steel

  2. to make hard and unfeeling: he steeled his heart against her sorrow; he steeled himself for the blow

Origin of steel

Old English stēli; related to Old High German stehli, Middle Dutch stael

Derived forms of steel

  • steely, adjective
  • steeliness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for Steel (2 of 2)


/ (stiːl) /

  1. Danielle, full name Danielle Fernande Schüelein-Steel. born 1950, US writer of romantic fiction

  2. Baron David (Martin Scott). born 1938, British politician; leader of the Liberal Party (1976–88); Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament (1999–2003)

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

Scientific definitions for steel


[ stēl ]

  1. Any of various hard, strong, flexible alloys of iron and carbon. Often, other metals are added to give steel a particular property, such as chromium and nickel to make it stainless. Steel is widely used in many kinds of tools and as a structural material in building.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with steel


In addition to the idiom beginning with steel

  • steel one's heart against

also see:

  • mind like a steel trap

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.