\ 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 The company had already purchased the steel, and ended up storing it in Arizona for nearly a decade. Roland Li,, "Why downtown Oakland is booming," 29 Nov. 2019 Now, an axe added sharpened steel to sharp legal practice. The Economist, "The world-changing life of Walter Raleigh," 28 Nov. 2019 Musk says it's made from the same steel used on SpaceX's Starship rocket. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Meet the Cybertruck: Tesla's New Electric Pickup Truck," 22 Nov. 2019 The Matanuska, one of the original mainline ferries launched along with the state system in 1963, recently received about $40 million of work to repair damaged steel and upgrade some systems to current safety standards. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Aging fleet and declining ridership plague Alaska’s public ferry system," 14 Nov. 2019 The village agreed to pay for the steel for the project, according to Shong. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "These Pewaukee High School students are helping repair a local bridge," 12 Nov. 2019 The engineers said other lithium battery tools could also be used to cut the steel and concrete. Nick Miroff, The Denver Post, "Smuggling gangs are sawing through new sections of Trump’s border wall," 3 Nov. 2019 Interestingly, Norway’s da Vinci Bridge—a pedestrian overpass opened in 2001—is loosely based on the 1502 sketch but uses steel and wood instead of masonry blocks. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Scientists Prove Leonardo da Vinci’s 500-Year-Old Bridge Design Actually Works," 16 Oct. 2019 Actually, Turkey won’t be providing the steel for U.S. F-35 fighter jets much longer. San Diego Union-Tribune, "AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s premature win on trade, Syria fiction," 13 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Kilcullen steeled himself, then read it, with rising gratitude and not a little amazement., "The violent deaths of the Louras cousins has shaken this city in particular because there has been progress made in the Sisyphean task of combating the scourge of addiction and its accompanying crime and decay, especially in the city’s Northwest neighborhood.," 22 Nov. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for steel

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for steel

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Steel.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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

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