(countable and uncountable, plural steels)
- (uncountable) An artificial metal produced from iron, harder and more elastic than elemental iron; used figuratively as a symbol of hardness
- (countable) Any item made of this metal, particularly including:
- Bladed or pointed weapons, as swords, javelins, daggers
- A piece used for striking sparks from flint.
- A honing steel, a tool used to sharpen or hone metal blades
- (sewing) Pieces used to strengthen, support, or expand an item of clothing
- (dialectical) A flat iron
- (sewing, dialectical) A sewing needle; a knitting needle; a sharp metal stylus
- (printing) An engraving plate
- (sewing) A fringe of beads or decoration of this metal
- (music, guitar) A type of slide used while playing the steel guitar.
- (countable) The part made from this metal, in reference to anything
- 1704, J. Harris, Lexicon Technicum, L
- Steel is not so good as Iron for Medicinal Operation.
- 1712 Sept 18, Jonathan Swift, Journal to Stella, II"‰558
- The Doctor tells me I must go into a Course of Steel, tho I have not the Spleen.
- 1866, Princess Alice, Mem., 158
- I...am really only kept alive by steel.
- (countable) Varieties of this metal
- (uncountable, colors) The gray hue of this metal; steel-gray
(third-person singular simple present steels, present participle steeling, simple past and past participle steeled)
- To edge, cover, or point with steel
- 1651, Bishop Jeremy Taylor, XXVIII Sermons Preacht at Golden Grove, Being for the Summer Half-year, XIX"‰248
- When God...draws aside his curtain, and shows his arsenal and his armory, full of arrows steeled with wrath.
- 1831, John Holland, A Treatise on the Progressive Improvement and Present State of the Manufactures in Metal, I"‰220
- It was the common notion...that the art of steeling tools in the highest degree of perfection was certainly lost to the moderns.
- To harden or strengthen; to nerve or make obdurate; to fortify against
- (dialectical) To press with a flat iron
- (uncommon) To cause to resemble steel in appearance
- To steelify; to turn iron into steel
- To electroplate an item, particularly an engraving plate, with a layer of iron
- To sharpen with a steel
From Middle English stele and stel, from Old English (North) stÄ“le, (South) stÈ³le (“the metal steel"), from Proto-Germanic *stahlijÄ… (“something made of steel") (compare West Frisian stiel), enlargement of *stahlÄ… (“the metal steel") (compare Dutch staal, German Stahl, Danish stÃ¥l, Icelandic stÃ¡l), from Proto-Germanic *stah- or *stag- (“to be firm, rigid"), from Proto-Indo-European *stak- (“to stay, to be firm") (compare Umbrian stakaz "˜upright, erected', Avestan ð¬€ð¬ð¬‘ð¬€ð¬™ð¬¯ (staxra) "˜strong', Sanskrit [script?] (stÃ¡kati) "˜resist, strike against'), related to Proto-Indo-European *sta- (“to stand").
From French Bastille (“a French prison") via Cockney rhyming slang