noun \ˈstēl\

: a strong, hard metal made of iron and carbon

: the industry that makes steel

: things (such as weapons) that are made of steel

Full Definition of STEEL

:  commercial iron that contains carbon in any amount up to about 1.7 percent as an essential alloying constituent, is malleable when under suitable conditions, and is distinguished from cast iron by its malleability and lower carbon content
:  an instrument or implement of or characteristically of steel: as
a :  a thrusting or cutting weapon
b :  an instrument (as a fluted round rod with a handle) for sharpening knives
c :  a piece of steel for striking sparks from flint
:  a quality (as hardness of mind or spirit) that suggests steel <nerves of steel>
a :  the steel manufacturing industry
b plural :  shares of stock in steel companies

Examples of STEEL

  1. The beams are made of steel.
  2. Steel is an important industry in this area.
  3. The invaders were driven back by steel.
  4. the steel of a knife

Origin of STEEL

Middle English stele, from Old English stȳle, stēle; akin to Old High German stahal steel and perhaps to Sanskrit stakati he resists
First Known Use: before 12th century

Related to STEEL

Other Metals and Metallurgy Terms

assay, bloom, bullion, ductile, ingot, malleable, patina, plate, temper, tensile


transitive verb

Definition of STEEL

:  to overlay, point, or edge with steel
a :  to cause to resemble steel (as in looks or hardness)
b :  to fill with resolution or determination <steeled herself to face the crisis>

Examples of STEEL

  1. <hoped that his inspirational talk would steel the youths in the pursuit of their dreams>
  2. <years of running a farm had steeled the hard-bitten woman>

First Known Use of STEEL

13th century



Definition of STEEL

:  made of steel
:  of or relating to the production of steel
:  resembling steel

First Known Use of STEEL

13th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Alloy of iron and about 2% or less carbon. Pure iron is soft, but carbon greatly hardens it. Several iron-carbon constituents with different compositions and/or crystal structures exist: austenite, ferrite, pearlite, cementite, and martensite can coexist in complex mixtures and combinations, depending on temperature and carbon content. Each microstructure differs in hardness, strength, toughness, corrosion resistance, and electrical resistivity, so adjusting the carbon content changes the properties. Heat treating, mechanical working at cold or hot temperatures, or addition of alloying elements may also give superior properties. The three major classes are carbon steels, low-alloy steels, and high-alloy steels. Low-alloy steels (with up to 8% alloying elements) are exceptionally strong and are used for machine parts, aircraft landing gear, shafts, hand tools, and gears, and in buildings and bridges. High-alloy steels, with more than 8% alloying elements (e.g., stainless steels) offer unusual properties. Making steel involves melting, purifying (refining), and alloying, carried out at about 2,900°F (1,600°C). Steel is obtained by refining iron (from a blast furnace) or scrap steel by the basic oxygen process, the open-hearth process, or in an electric furnace, then by removing excess carbon and impurities and adding alloying elements. Molten steel can be poured into molds and solidified into ingots; these are reheated and rolled into semifinished shapes which are worked into finished products. Some steps in ingot pouring can be saved by continuous casting. Forming semifinished steel into finished shapes may be done by two major methods: hot-working consists primarily of hammering and pressing (together called forging), extrusion, and rolling the steel under high heat; cold-working, which includes rolling, extrusion, and drawing (see wire drawing), is generally used to make bars, wire, tubes, sheets, and strips. Molten steel can also be cast directly into products. Certain products, particularly of sheet steel, are protected from corrosion by electroplating, galvanizing, or tinplating.


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