\ 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 But there was another, more elemental, backdrop; a blue-collar orchestra of iron and steel, whose music was the clanging hooks of docking ships, the rattling roar of anchor chain, the bells of buoys, gently bobbing, on dark green harbor swells. Tim Kelleher, National Review, "Memories of a Staten Island Childhood," 28 Feb. 2021 The unit also comes with two side shelves, a warming rack, and a cast-iron and steel access door for refilling charcoal. Allison Cacich, Better Homes & Gardens, "The 10 Best Charcoal Grills for Home Cooks," 25 Feb. 2021 Materials like concrete and steel are lower maintenance than wood, which needs to be repainted and repaired more often. Nancy Keates, WSJ, "These Retirees Are Aging in Place—a Very Modern, Contemporary Place," 24 Feb. 2021 Primary building materials for the project include acoustical stucco, concrete, steel and wood. Matt Wake |, al, "Huntsville Amphitheater drops new promo video, has dozens of concert dates held already for ’22," 23 Feb. 2021 In Beaver County, near the Ohio border, a sprawling complex of steel and concrete is rising up on the southern bank of the river. Popular Science, "A trip down the Ohio River reveals the oil and gas industry’s next big move," 23 Feb. 2021 Mostly, that meant adding more ways to enjoy the outdoors, including installing the steel-and-glass doors at the back entrance for easier access and to let in more of the view. Joanna Linberg, Southern Living, "Inside a Texas Home With Cheery Hues and Timeless Style," 20 Feb. 2021 For example, manufacturing industries such as steel and cement require tremendous amounts of heat to make their products. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Why all the hoopla about hydrogen?," 19 Feb. 2021 Manufacturing — especially in the cheap construction staples of steel and cement — accounts for roughly one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Katy Daigle, Star Tribune, "Bill Gates warns that manufacturing could challenge climate goals," 15 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The struggles of the first two COVID-19 surges in the United States helped hospitals steel themselves for the third. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "The Third Surge Is Breaking Health-Care Workers," 13 Nov. 2020 But even better than not straw-manning someone’s argument is to intentionally steel man it instead. Eric Ravenscraft, Wired, "How to Win Any Debate," 29 Sep. 2020 Now, with the gauge up near 60% from its low, froth in the options market, and plenty of ways for things to go wrong over the next few weeks, traders need to steel themselves, according to Yousef Abbasi, a global market strategist at StoneX. Sarah Ponczek,, "Options Mania and Real-World Risk Mean Volatility Here to Stay," 10 Sep. 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

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Steel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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