\ˈstēl \

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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Synonyms & Antonyms for steel

Synonyms: Noun

blade, brand, sword

Synonyms: Verb

fortify, harden, indurate, inure, season, strengthen, toughen

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of steel in a Sentence


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


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

The Trump administration used national security as a reason to put tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union this spring. Jim Puzzanghera,, "After Trump's new tariff threat, China may either have to blink or widen the trade war," 11 July 2018 The arrow is 150 feet long and is made of 30 tons of steel. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "Western Auto sign countdown: Iconic neon beacon to light up KC once more," 10 July 2018 Sales plunged 70 percent after Trump placed a 25 percent tariff on steel from Mexico and Canada. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "U.S. trade war with China, other countries: Layoffs, reduced hours, thinner profits," 6 July 2018 In recent months the Trump administration has announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico, and the EU, and on $50 billion or more in products from China. Nicolas Rapp, Fortune, "Why Trump's Trade War Could Mean Heavy Losses for U.S. Farmers," 2 July 2018 Joseph operated a crane in a Gary steel mill and devoted his free time to playing guitar in a band called the Falcons. Dakota Crawford, Indianapolis Star, "Joe Jackson, patriarch of the Jackson family, dead at 89," 27 June 2018 Trudeau announced the agreement at a news conference, and then, taking questions from reporters, reiterated his objections to Trump's imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Damian Paletta, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump, White House advisers blast Canada's Trudeau in brutal aftermath of G-7 summit," 11 June 2018 There was nothing relaxed about Mr Trudeau’s response when, a few days later, Mr Trump slapped tariffs on steel and aluminium from Canada, Europe and Mexico, ostensibly for reasons of national security. The Economist, "Donald Trump is undermining the rules-based international order," 7 June 2018 The objective of the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the U.S., according to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, is to reduce the U.S. trade deficit and shore up American metal producers. Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "European Union residents, many Harley fans, opine about Trump and tariffs," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For many of us in the bureau, this was an appalling crime that made our hearts heavy, yet steeled our resolve to find justice for Jayden. Bianca Hillier, NBC News, "‘Little Jacob’ case: Texas police arrest mom, girlfriend after identifying body of Jayden Alexander Lopez," 20 June 2018 By mining the ever-expanding mountains of e-waste, countries could steel themselves against the volatility in prices and supplies of the global market. New York Times, "E-Waste Offers an Economic Opportunity as Well as Toxicity," 5 July 2018 This verbal assault steeled me to such irrational rantings forevermore. WSJ, "Campus Conservatives as an Underclass and Safe Target," 4 June 2018 Asked what family would be watching, Hardy pointed to his boxing coach from American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla., Billy Padden, a snub-nosed two-time collegiate champion steeled in the Philadelphia brand of boxing. Robert Klemko,, "Greg Hardy, the UFC and the Limits of the Second Chance," 25 June 2018 His father’s 1984 assassination in Beirut both steeled him and molded his character. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Steve Kerr, the Golden State Warriors, and the Art of Sharing Power," 4 May 2018 And so the call from California was made, and John Glenn, in the darkness before a June dawn, steeled himself to look those children in the eye and tell them, one at a time, what had to be told. Bob Greene, WSJ, "When RFK Died, John Glenn Faced His Toughest Duty," 5 June 2018 Hanging over all this is the prospect of steep losses in this November’s midterm elections, with party elders steeling for a potential Democratic wave. Nash Jenkins, Time, "How Immigration is Tearing House Republicans Apart," 23 May 2018 With the annual cyclone and monsoon seasons approaching this month and next, hundreds of thousands of refugees are now steeling themselves for the camp’s further collapse. Jason Patinkin, Washington Post, "Rohingya refugees escaped massacres in Burma. Now they face another deadly force: Monsoons.," 4 May 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

Dictionary Entries near steel





steel band

steel blue


Statistics for steel

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for steel

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

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More Definitions for steel



English Language Learners Definition of steel

: a strong, hard metal made of iron and carbon

: the industry that makes steel

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


\ˈstēl \

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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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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