pertaining to or made of steel.
like steel in color, hardness, or strength.

verb (used with object)

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for steeling

Contemporary Examples of steeling

  • “The Muslim Brotherhood is steeling for a fight,” says Trager, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Egypt Braces For a Fight

    Mike Giglio

    June 28, 2013

  • I moved back to the city and my two on-again off-again guys, steeling myself for hopeless fix-ups, just in case love might strike.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Summer of the Entenmann's Man

    Gael Greene

    July 9, 2010

Historical Examples of steeling

  • 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



Danielle, full name Danielle Fernande Schüelein-Steel. born 1950, US writer of romantic fiction
Baron David (Martin Scott). born 1938, British politician; leader of the Liberal Party (1976–88); Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament (1999–2003)



  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
something that is made of steel
a steel stiffener in a corset, etc
a ridged steel rod with a handle used for sharpening knives
the quality of hardness, esp with regard to a person's character or attitudes
stock exchange the quotation for steel sharesSee also steels
(modifier) resembling steelsteel determination

verb (tr)

to fit, plate, edge, or point with steel
to make hard and unfeelinghe steeled his heart against her sorrow; he steeled himself for the blow
Derived Formssteely, adjectivesteeliness, noun

Word Origin for steel

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.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

steeling in Science



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.

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