Definition of steel in English:


Line breaks: steel
Pronunciation: /stiːl


[mass noun]
  • 1A hard, strong grey or bluish-grey alloy of iron with carbon and usually other elements, used as a structural and fabricating material: [as modifier]: steel girders
    More example sentences
    • This shining metal was not raw iron but hard steel, which bent the softer wrought-iron blades of the Gauls.
    • Adding carbon to iron to make steel does make it stronger and tougher, up to a point.
    • Carbon steel is an alloy of iron with small amounts of Mn, S, P, and Si. Alloy steels are carbon steels with other additives such as nickel, chromium, vanadium, etc.
  • 1.1Used as a symbol or embodiment of strength and firmness: nerves of steel [as modifier]: a steel will
    More example sentences
    • The big Castlewellan player showed nerves of steel to hammer the ball through the uprights and square the match.
    • It's all very well playing great football but you also need a bit of strength and steel about you to make sure you don't concede goals like that.
    • Tristan grabbed me right back from him and anchored me to his side with the strength of steel.
  • 1.2 [count noun] A rod of roughened steel on which knives are sharpened.
    More example sentences
    • With it I demonstrate that it is impossible to cut yourself when sharpening on a steel as long as you use Neville knives.


[with object] Back to top  
  • Mentally prepare (oneself) to do or face something difficult: his team were steeling themselves for disappointment [with infinitive]: she steeled herself to remain calm
    More example sentences
    • It's all because I'm mentally steeling myself in preparation for next Monday.
    • Stiffening, his hand gravitating to his sword hilt, Ikeda steeled himself, preparing for any situation.
    • When that was confirmed I realised I had actually been steeling myself in preparation.
    brace oneself, nerve oneself, summon/gather/screw up/muster one's courage, screw one's courage to the sticking place, gear oneself up, prepare oneself, get in the right frame of mind, make up one's mind; fortify oneself, harden oneself, bolster oneself
    informal psych oneself up
    literary gird (up) one's loins


Old English stȳle, stēli, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch staal, German Stahl, also to stay2. The verb dates from the late 16th century.

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