from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.
  • noun Something, such as a sword, that is made of steel.
  • noun A quality suggestive of this alloy, especially a hard, unflinching character.
  • noun Steel gray.
  • adjective Made with, relating to, or consisting of steel.
  • adjective Very firm or strong.
  • adjective Of a steel gray.
  • transitive verb To cover, plate, edge, or point with steel.
  • transitive verb To make hard, strong, or obdurate; strengthen.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An obsolete form of steal, stale.
  • 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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
  • noun of carbon and
  • noun of manganese. The parts subjected to extension do not contain more than
  • noun of carbon.
  • noun Something made of steel.
  • noun A piece of steel for striking sparks from flint to ignite tinder or match.
  • noun A mirror.
  • noun A cylindrical or slightly tapering rod of steel, sometimes having fine parallel longitudinal lines, used for sharpening carving-knives, etc.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Steel made from the ore by a direct process.
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Metal) 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.
  • noun An instrument or implement made of steel.
  • noun A weapon, as a sword, dagger, etc.
  • noun An instrument of steel (usually a round rod) for sharpening knives.
  • noun A piece of steel for striking sparks from flint.
  • noun Fig.: Anything of extreme hardness; that which is characterized by sternness or rigor.
  • noun (Med.) A chalybeate medicine.
  • noun (Metal.) See in the Vocabulary.
  • noun (Metal.) See under Blister.
  • noun (Metal.) a fine variety of steel, originally made by smelting blister or cementation steel; hence, ordinarily, steel of any process of production when remelted and cast.
  • noun (Metal.) a hard, tenacious variety containing a little chromium, and somewhat resembling tungsten steel.
  • noun (Metal.) a kind of steel having a lower proportion of carbon than ordinary steel, rendering it softer and more malleable.
  • noun (Metal.) a variety of steel produced from cast iron by the puddling process.
  • noun (Zoöl.), [Prov. Eng.] the goosander, or merganser.
  • noun (Firearms) A mill where steel is manufactured.
  • noun a trap for catching wild animals. It consists of two iron jaws, which close by means of a powerful steel spring when the animal disturbs the catch, or tongue, by which they are kept open.
  • noun wine, usually sherry, in which steel filings have been placed for a considerable time, -- used as a medicine.
  • noun (Med.) an alcoholic solution of the chloride of iron.
  • noun (Metal.) a variety of steel containing a small amount of tungsten, and noted for its tenacity and hardness, as well as for its malleability and tempering qualities. It is also noted for its magnetic properties.
  • transitive verb To overlay, point, or edge with steel


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