\ ˈstēl How to pronounce steel (audio) \

Definition of steel

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : 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
2 : an instrument or implement of or characteristically of steel: such as
a : a thrusting or cutting weapon
b : an instrument (such as a fluted round rod with a handle) for sharpening knives
c : a piece of steel for striking sparks from flint
3 : a quality (such as hardness of mind or spirit) that suggests steel nerves of steel
4a : the steel manufacturing industry
b steels plural : shares of stock in steel companies


steeled; steeling; steels

Definition of steel (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to overlay, point, or edge with steel
2a : to cause to resemble steel (as in looks or hardness)
b : to fill with resolution or determination steeled herself to face the crisis



Definition of steel (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : made of steel
2 : of or relating to the production of steel
3 : resembling steel

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Examples of steel in a Sentence

Noun The beams are made of steel. Steel is an important industry in this area. The invaders were driven back by steel. the steel of a knife Verb hoped that his inspirational talk would steel the youths in the pursuit of their dreams years of running a farm had steeled the hard-bitten woman
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Video posted by witnesses online showed the upland road where the accident happened has no steel or concrete railing. Fox News, "20 Philippine villagers killed when truck falls off cliff," 17 Sep. 2019 Yvette VanDerBrink and her assistants at VanDerBrink Auctions were the ringleaders of the circus, managing the main attractions made of steel and chrome. Aaron Calvin, USA TODAY, "A treasure trove of muscle cars: Iowa man sells nearly 100 vehicles after decades of collecting," 16 Sep. 2019 Odyssey of the Seas is under construction at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, having had its first steel cut in February. Richard Tribou,, "Royal Caribbean sending new Quantum Ultra ship Odyssey of the Seas to Florida," 13 Sep. 2019 But a policy originally devised to break down trade barriers in the era of coal and steel has not adapted fast enough to the era of bits and likes (see Briefing). The Economist, "A singular opportunity," 12 Sep. 2019 After the Volstead Act went into effect, Dexter had large steel and concrete vaults similar to the ones seen in banks constructed in his basement to safeguard the liquor. Real Estate, "Listed: Manchester-by-the-Sea mansion had a siren, vaults, and guards to protect liquor stash," 11 Sep. 2019 The most powerful hammer forge Sixty years ago, the Ladish Co. in Cudahy finished building its Number 85 Hammer, a multi-story, monster forge that pounds chunks of incandescent steel into shape between a pair of rams weighing 375,000 pounds each. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here are five cool things from the MSOE exhibition you might be surprised to learn were made in Milwaukee," 10 Sep. 2019 The all-metal convertible looks handsome with its steel-gray finish and shiny, silver metallic accents. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: How to buy a Chromebook, plus our best picks," 7 Sep. 2019 Or as one worker bluntly comments, the Americans are eliminating their steel-making competition. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Atlantis': Film Review | Venice 2019," 7 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As Novak Djokovic steeled himself again to face Roger Federer and the crowd, Djokovic tried to imagine all the scenarios that could come to pass on Centre Court. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "Novak Djokovic Wins Wimbledon, Outlasting Roger Federer," 14 July 2019 The Toreros use the nonleague games against scholarship programs to steel themselves for the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Toreros will try to shore up defense against UC Davis," 6 Sep. 2019 The loss steeled her resolve to crack the biology of depression and improve its treatment. Emily Underwood, Science | AAAS, "Brain scans could help personalize treatment for people who are depressed or suicidal," 20 Aug. 2019 Collapsing car and tractor sales in the past couple of months are reverberating down the supply chain, from parts-makers to steel companies. The Economist, "India Inc is growing disenchanted with Narendra Modi," 17 Aug. 2019 As the Democratic presidential hopefuls prepare for debates Wednesday and Thursday nights, engineers and other specialists at Facebook and Twitter are steeling themselves for a different kind of contest. Elena Shao,, "Facebook, Twitter set to fight fake news during Democratic debates," 25 June 2019 What steeled and defined the 1999 team was a competitiveness rooted in the core members who had led the United States to victory in the inaugural, 1991 women’s World Cup — Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy, Scurry, Hamm, Lilly and Chastain, among others. Liz Clarke,, "Twenty years ago, U.S. women won the World Cup and changed the sport," 7 June 2019 At the media center, the video of another dying child only steeled their resolve. Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, The New York Review of Books, "How Assad Made Truth a Casualty of War," 7 Sep. 2018 Luckily for them, her intention isn't to trick you and steel your beauty—only to get her songs stuck in your head for the rest of your life. Danny Murphy, Marie Claire, "Recasted: Who Would Star in a Hocus Pocus Remake?," 31 Oct. 2018

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

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First Known Use of steel


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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for steel


Middle English stele, from Old English stȳle, stēle; akin to Old High German stahal steel and perhaps to Sanskrit stakati he resists

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Learn More about steel

Statistics for steel

Last Updated

4 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for steel

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

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More Definitions for steel


How to pronounce steel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of steel

: a strong, hard metal made of iron and carbon
: the industry that makes steel
literary : things (such as weapons) that are made of steel


\ ˈstēl How to pronounce steel (audio) \

Kids Definition of steel

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a hard and tough metal made by treating iron with great heat and mixing carbon with it
2 : an item (as a sword) made of steel


steeled; steeling

Kids Definition of steel (Entry 2 of 3)

: to fill with courage or determination I steeled myself for the struggle.



Kids Definition of steel (Entry 3 of 3)

: made of steel a steel plow

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More from Merriam-Webster on steel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for steel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with steel

Spanish Central: Translation of steel

Nglish: Translation of steel for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on steel

What made you want to look up steel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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