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See more synonyms for steel on Thesaurus.com
  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.
  3. a flat strip of this metal used for stiffening, especially in corsets; stay.
  4. a bar of this metal that has one end formed to hold a bit for driving through rock.
  5. steels, stocks or bonds of companies producing this metal.
  6. a sword.
  7. a rounded rod of ridged steel, fitted with a handle and used especially for sharpening knives.
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  1. pertaining to or made of steel.
  2. like steel in color, hardness, or strength.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to fit with steel, as by pointing, edging, or overlaying.
  2. to cause to resemble steel in some way.
  3. to render insensible, inflexible, unyielding, determined, etc.: He steeled himself to perform the dangerous task.
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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
Related formssteel·like, adjectivepre·steel, noun, adjective
Can be confusedsteal steel stele
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for steeling

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It may come to that; I have been steeling myself all the morning to meet it.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • Steeling himself, lest he should hit the ill-fated ship, he fired.

  • The humor of it was steeling him against the canker of Joan's untimely disappearance.

  • But, steeling his heart, and uttering a short prayer, he leaped into the saddle.

    The Motor Boys

    Clarence Young

  • Steeling himself, he replied, "Their terms are the freedom of the people."

British Dictionary definitions for steeling


  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)
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    1. 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
    2. (as modifier)steel girders See also stainless steel
  1. something that is made of steel
  2. a steel stiffener in a corset, etc
  3. a ridged steel rod with a handle used for sharpening knives
  4. the quality of hardness, esp with regard to a person's character or attitudes
  5. stock exchange the quotation for steel sharesSee also steels
  6. (modifier) resembling steelsteel determination
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verb (tr)
  1. to fit, plate, edge, or point with steel
  2. to make hard and unfeelinghe steeled his heart against her sorrow; he steeled himself for the blow
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Derived Formssteely, adjectivesteeliness, noun

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for steeling



Old English style, from West Germanic adjective *stakhlijan "made of steel" (cf. Old Saxon stehli, Old Norse, Middle Low German stal, Danish staal, Swedish stål, Middle Dutch stael, Dutch staal, Old High German stahal, German Stahl), related to *stakhla "standing fast," from PIE *stek-lo-, from root *stak- "to stand, place, be firm" (see stay (n.1)). No corresponding word exists outside Germanic except those likely borrowed from Germanic languages. Steel wool is attested from 1896.

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"make hard or strong like steel," 1580s, figurative, from steel (n.). Related: Steeled; steeling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

steeling in Science


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

Idioms and Phrases with steeling


In addition to the idiom beginning with steel

  • steel one's heart against

also see:

  • mind like a steel trap
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.