\ ˈī(-ə)rn How to pronounce iron (audio) \

Definition of iron

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a silver-white malleable ductile magnetic heavy metallic element that readily rusts in moist air, occurs in pure form in meteorites and combined in most igneous rocks, is the most abundant element on Earth by mass, and is vital to biological processes — see Chemical Elements Table
2 : something made of iron: such as
a : a household device usually with a flat metal base that is heated to smooth, finish, or press (such as cloth)
b : any of a series of numbered golf clubs having relatively thin metal heads — compare wood
c irons plural : shackles for the hands or legs
d : a heated metal implement used for branding or cauterizing
e : stirrup usually used in plural
3 : great strength, hardness, or determination
iron in the fire
1 : a matter requiring close attention
2 : a prospective course of action



Definition of iron (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : of, relating to, or made of iron
2 : resembling iron
3a : strong and healthy : robust an iron constitution
b : inflexible, unrelenting iron determination
c : holding or binding fast an iron grip


ironed; ironing; irons

Definition of iron (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to smooth with or as if with a heated iron iron a shirt
b : to remove (something, such as wrinkles) by ironing
2 : to shackle with irons
3 : to furnish or cover with iron

intransitive verb

: to smooth or press cloth or clothing with a heated iron

Other Words from iron


ironness \ ˈī(-​ə)rn-​nəs How to pronounce iron (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for iron

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of iron in a Sentence

Adjective he had an iron determination to succeed in on Wall Street
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Though the Tigers’ iron grip on the ACC slipped last season, they’re still regarded as the team to beat. USA TODAY, 16 Sep. 2022 High above the tree-line, the wind, snow and cold maintain the iron grip of winter for months on end. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 12 Sep. 2022 The former leader's hurried exit was a historic moment for the nation of 22 million, which members of the Rajapaksa family ruled with an iron fist for much of the past two decades. Iqbal Athas And Rhea Mogul, CNN, 17 Aug. 2022 The ex-slaves established an oppressive regime that ruled the indigenous population with an iron fist from the time of their arrival until 1980, when indigenous soldiers led a military coup against President William Tolbert. Jonathan Paye-layleh, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 July 2022 Powers always puts himself in the mix to start but never has an iron grip on his job. Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun, 31 Aug. 2022 Now was the time to strike while the iron was hot or forever be chasing contract reconstruction always outside our grasp. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Aug. 2022 Sources that Texans once saw as iron-clad and completely reliable have now been proven false. Kat Bouza, Rolling Stone, 2 June 2022 Dragon fruit is a good source of gut-healthy fiber, a solid dose of immune-supporting vitamin C, sleep-promoting magnesium, and is one of the few plant sources of iron—among other vitamins, minerals, and a good dose of hydration. Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 19 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective For my anti-iron lifestyle, the Nori is a clear winner. Rachel Besser, Vogue, 20 Aug. 2021 The broad bill is a moratorium of sorts and covers any kind of hard rock, or non-iron ore, mine anywhere in Minnesota. Jennifer Bjorhus, Star Tribune, 13 Jan. 2021 Efforts to slow copper-mining's advance into Minnesota are intensifying, with state lawmakers backing a prohibitive measure that would require mining companies to show proof that a similar non-iron, hard rock mine has operated safely elsewhere. Jennifer Bjorhus, Star Tribune, 13 Jan. 2021 For men who need to look sharp on a budget, these Nordstrom athletic-fit non-iron chinos are just the ticket. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, 13 Dec. 2020 Check out this Nordstrom trim-fit non-iron dress shirt, which drops from $39.50 to $19.75 in the Red Ruby hue. Arielle Tschinkel, USA TODAY, 29 July 2020 Check out this Nordstrom traditional fit non-iron dress shirt, which drops a full 70% in select colors and sizing from $49.50 to $14.85. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, 10 July 2020 In ancient seas, iron aplenty To learn how iron fertilization might work in the future, some researchers are looking at the past, in paleoclimate records such as ice cores and deep-sea sediments. Emily Underwood, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Using ironing cloths and a few leaves leftover from raking your yard, iron the leaves onto 8x8 squares of wax paper. Savanna Bous, Better Homes & Gardens, 12 Sep. 2022 Working tip to tail, iron the wax onto the ski using short, back-and-forth strokes down the ski. Ben Fox, Outside Online, 20 Feb. 2019 Best Large Laundry Hamper Sort, fold and iron clean clothes and linens on this spacious laundry hamper and ironing board combo. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, 25 July 2022 Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to fade, allowing global supply chains to iron themselves out, which will ease shortages for everything from lumber to vehicles. Mark Zandi For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 20 July 2022 The Rowenta Smart Temp Steam Iron is designed to iron all fabrics at optimal heat, without any temperature dials. Carolyn Forté, Good Housekeeping, 8 July 2022 Morikawa, who also tied for fifth, said TCC required more navigation than most courses, especially when considering driver, wood, or iron off the tee. Globe Staff,, 20 June 2022 Many of the items in her lines are made from wrinkle-resistant, machine washable, stretch materials that are great for people with busy schedules who don't have time to iron or make regular trips to the dry cleaner. CNN, 6 May 2022 The chairman did reiterate the committee’s expectation that many of the supply chain problems will eventually iron themselves out as the economy slows its growth. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'iron.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of iron


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

History and Etymology for iron


Middle English, from Old English īsern, īren; akin to Old High German īsarn iron

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Time Traveler for iron

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The first known use of iron was before the 12th century

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Iron Age

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Last Updated

24 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Iron.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for iron


\ ˈī-ərn How to pronounce iron (audio) \

Kids Definition of iron

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a heavy silvery white metallic chemical element that rusts easily, is strongly attracted by magnets, occurs in meteorites and combined in minerals, and is necessary for transporting oxygen in the blood
2 : a device that is heated and used for making cloth smooth
3 : a device that is heated to perform a task a soldering iron
4 irons plural : handcuffs or chains used to bind or to hinder movement



Kids Definition of iron (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : made of iron
2 : strong and healthy He has an iron constitution.
3 : not giving in an iron will


ironed; ironing

Kids Definition of iron (Entry 3 of 3)

: to press with a heated iron


\ ˈī(-ə)rn How to pronounce iron (audio) \

Medical Definition of iron

1 : a heavy malleable ductile magnetic silver-white metallic element that readily rusts in moist air, occurs native in meteorites and combined in most igneous rocks, is the most used of metals, and is vital to biological processes (as in transport of oxygen in the body) symbol Fe — see Chemical Elements Table
2 : iron chemically combined iron in the blood

Other Words from iron

iron adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on iron

Nglish: Translation of iron for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of iron for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about iron


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