[steel-yahrd, stil-yerd]
  1. 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for steelyard

Historical Examples of steelyard

  • The young merchant is seated among his daily surroundings in the Steelyard.


    Beatrice Fortescue

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

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for steelyard


  1. 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 for steelyard

C17: from steel + yard 1 (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