from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A generally hard, strong, durable, malleable alloy of iron and carbon, usually containing between 0.2 and 1.5 percent carbon, often with other constituents such as manganese, chromium, nickel, molybdenum, copper, tungsten, cobalt, or silicon, depending on the desired alloy properties, and widely used as a structural material.
  • n. Something, such as a sword, that is made of steel.
  • n. A quality suggestive of this alloy, especially a hard, unflinching character.
  • n. Steel gray.
  • adj. Made with, relating to, or consisting of steel: steel beams; the steel industry; a bicycle with a steel frame.
  • adj. Very firm or strong: a steel grip.
  • adj. Of a steel gray.
  • transitive v. To cover, plate, edge, or point with steel.
  • transitive v. To make hard, strong, or obdurate; strengthen: He steeled himself for disappointment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A metal alloy of mostly iron plus carbon, harder than pure elemental iron but malleable when hot.
  • n. A tool used to sharpen or hone knives; a honing steel.
  • n. A sword.
  • n. A type of slide used in the practice of steel guitar.
  • n. Hardness; strength in adversity; mettle.
  • v. To harden.
  • v. To cover with steel
  • v. To hone with a honing steel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A variety of iron intermediate in composition and properties between wrought iron and cast iron (containing between one half of one per cent and one and a half per cent of carbon), and consisting of an alloy of iron with an iron carbide. Steel, unlike wrought iron, can be tempered, and retains magnetism. Its malleability decreases, and fusibility increases, with an increase in carbon.
  • n. An instrument or implement made of steel.
  • n. A weapon, as a sword, dagger, etc.
  • n. An instrument of steel (usually a round rod) for sharpening knives.
  • n. A piece of steel for striking sparks from flint.
  • n. Fig.: Anything of extreme hardness; that which is characterized by sternness or rigor.
  • n. A chalybeate medicine.
  • transitive v. To overlay, point, or edge with steel
  • transitive v. To make hard or strong; hence, to make insensible or obdurate.
  • transitive v. To cause to resemble steel, as in smoothness, polish, or other qualities.
  • transitive v. To cover, as an electrotype plate, with a thin layer of iron by electrolysis. The iron thus deposited is very hard, like steel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A modified form of iron, not occurring in nature, but known and manufactured from very early times, and at the present time of the highest importance in its various applications to the wants of man.
  • n. A single span of the Forth Bridge is nearly as long as two Eiffel Towers turned horizontally and tied together in the middle, and the whole forms a complicated steel structure weighing 15,000 tons, erected without the possibility of any intermediate support, the lace-like fabric of the bridge soaring as high as the top of St. Paul's. The steel of which the compression members of the structure are composed contains
  • n. of carbon and
  • n. of manganese. The parts subjected to extension do not contain more than
  • n. of carbon.
  • n. Something made of steel.
  • n. A piece of steel for striking sparks from flint to ignite tinder or match.
  • n. A mirror.
  • n. A cylindrical or slightly tapering rod of steel, sometimes having fine parallel longitudinal lines, used for sharpening carving-knives, etc.
  • n. A strip of steel used to stiffen a corset, or to expand a woman's skirt.
  • Made of steel: as, a steel plate or buckle.
  • Hard as steel; inflexible; unyielding.
  • To fit with steel, as by pointing, edging, overlaying, electroplating, or the like.
  • To iron (clothes).
  • To make hard as steel; render strong, rigid, inflexible, determined, etc.; make firm or stubborn.
  • To cause to resemble steel in smoothness or polish.
  • n. An obsolete form of steal, stale.
  • n. Steel made from the ore by a direct process.
  • n. Such steel rolled in the shapes adapted for these uses, such as angles, tees, channels, I-beams, T-beams, Z-bars, and deck-beams.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cover, plate, or edge with steel
  • n. a cutting or thrusting weapon that has a long metal blade and a hilt with a hand guard
  • n. knife sharpener consisting of a ridged steel rod
  • v. get ready for something difficult or unpleasant
  • n. an alloy of iron with small amounts of carbon; widely used in construction; mechanical properties can be varied over a wide range


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English stel, from Old English stȳle, stēl.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English stele, stel, from Old English (North) stēle, (South) stȳle, from Proto-Germanic *stahlijan (cf. West Frisian stiel), enlargement of *stahlan (cf. Dutch staal, German Stahl, Danish stål) from Proto-Indo-European *stak- ‘to stay, be firm’ (cf. Umbrian stakaz ‘upright, erected’, Avestan staxra ‘strong’, Sanskrit  (stákati) ‘resist, strike against’).



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  • "Forged in flame and strengthened in battle, Steel hits with the force of an army and refuses to show an ounce of mercy. Preferring to speak with her actions rather than words, this statuesque behemoth flattens everything in her path and doesn't waste time looking back at the wreckage."

    (Official biography on the NBC American Gladiators website)

    September 6, 2008