steel·​bow | \ ˈstēlˌbō, -bau̇ \

Definition of steelbow

1 : the farming stock, implements, and other materials formerly supplied to a tenant farmer in Scotland by the landlord under a contract stipulating that these goods must be returned or compensated for at the expiration of the tenancy
2 : a type of contract formerly in use in Scotland under which a tenant farmer must at the expiration of his tenancy return to his landlord the farming goods supplied by the landlord or compensate him for them

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

History and Etymology for steelbow

Middle English stelebow, from stele steel + bow farm stock; from the understanding that the amount must be rigidly preserved and returned (farm tenant)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about steelbow

Statistics for steelbow

Cite this Entry

“Steelbow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

Comments on steelbow

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!