\ 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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Synonyms & Antonyms for steel

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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 upgrade was designed to make the plant a primary source of material for high-strength, lightweight and flexible steel that feeds the automotive sector. Marc Levy,, "U.S. Steel drops plans for $1.5B revamp of Pennsylvania plants. ‘The world is changing rapidly.’," 30 Apr. 2021 The flexible steel cable connecting the driver's seat belt to the outboard side of the seat may be repeatedly bent over the seat side shield as the driver enters and exits the vehicle causing the cable to fatigue and separate. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for April 22-29," 30 Apr. 2021 Stacks of steel bollards stretch as far as the eye can see. CNN, "What happened when border wall construction froze," 30 Apr. 2021 Crews will replace the concrete deck of the railroad bridge and rehabilitate its piers, steel beams and concrete portions, the release states. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, "Construction on next leg of Wasson Way trail begins Wednesday," 28 Apr. 2021 Many features — from the six Jeffersonian domes that top the building to the yellow steel beams scattered throughout — mimic those in other parts of the airport. Washington Post, "So long, Gate 35X: New Reagan National concourse a bright spot as travel rebounds across D.C. region," 15 Apr. 2021 Rescue workers accompanied the GiRaft on its one-mile journey to shore by standing on the steel beams or boating alongside in kayaks and canoes. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Last Two Giraffes Rescued From a Disappearing Island in Kenya," 15 Apr. 2021 The residence was designed by architect John W. Finklea, and after first excavating and anchoring steel beams to solid bedrock, it was completed in 1993. oregonlive, "Willamette Valley mansion with a bowling alley, ballroom and Zen decor is for sale at $10 million," 11 Apr. 2021 Works by Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha and Cy Twombly hang on the off-white walls of the main level, and several Bennett pieces, including a Sled chair, with its X steel base and wicker seat, are scattered about. New York Times, "In Southampton, a Beach House Not Like the Others," 22 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Philip would have argued that some sort of shield is required, by all of us, whatever our situation, to fend off any sudden blows and to steel us for the slough of boredom. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Prince Philip’s Death and the Last Embers of British Stoicism," 9 Apr. 2021 With 16 more games on tap for Saturday, which other top teams should steel themselves for heartbreak? USA TODAY, "March Madness live updates: The scores and moments you need to know from Saturday at men's NCAA Tournament," 20 Mar. 2021 The years of being involved, of having a career and working with Tony would steel her well. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Restaurant owner-entrepreneur Vanessa Whiting perseveres past tragedy with ‘people over profit’ mantra," 15 Mar. 2021 Just make sure to date everything, then steel yourself to throw out spices once their time is up. Melissa Clark, New York Times, "For Maximum Flavor, Make These Spice Blends at Home," 22 Feb. 2021 But now, as that past is knocking on the present’s door, demanding to be heard, more people are being forced to steel themselves and face those uncomfortable truths head on. Natalie Morin,, "Justin Timberlake Made A Career At The Expense Of Women," 12 Feb. 2021 DeRozan said players already are beginning to steel themselves for the mental grind ahead. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Rodeo trip sets up nicely for Spurs, so long as they stay sane," 11 Feb. 2021 The idea was to steel them for difficult questions from clients. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Gideon Gartner Founded Company Advising Computer Buyers," 17 Dec. 2020 That reasoning will give him cover to reject the demands of progressives, who should steel themselves for more of the same. Alexandra Desanctis, National Review, "Welcoming the Old Guard," 25 Nov. 2020

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 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Steel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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
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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