\ ˈstē-lē How to pronounce steely (audio) \
steelier; steeliest

Definition of steely

1 : resembling or suggesting steel (as in hardness, color, strength, or coldness) steely determination steely blue
2 : made of steel

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Other Words from steely

steeliness noun

Examples of steely in a Sentence

a thief with steely nerves He had a steely determination to succeed. She gave him a steely gaze. a sky filled with steely gray clouds the judge's steely blue eyes
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Recent Examples on the Web

In the photo, Tucker paired a leopard print top with a fuzzy coat, Weiss matched a red beret to her blazer, and Brownstein complemented her steely gaze with a slouchy, black denim jacket. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "St. Vincent Is Producing Sleater-Kinney’s New Album and Has Riot Grrrl Style Down Pat," 8 Jan. 2019 Wilfried experiences some qualms about the implications of being a German holding Jews at gunpoint, while Brigitte gobbles pills and maintains an air of steely ruthlessness. A. O. Scott, New York Times, "Review: ‘7 Days in Entebbe’ Revisits a Notorious Hijacking," 14 Mar. 2018 Taipei Li Ching-yu fixes me with a look of steely determination. Benedict Rogers, WSJ, "Beijing’s Chilling Imprisonment of a Taiwanese Critic," 31 Mar. 2019 Even Duhamel, usually deployed as a steely B-list action-movie hunk, is delightful as Simon’s dopey, brawny, well-meaning dad. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Love, Simon Is Groundbreakingly Ordinary," 13 Mar. 2018 Abbey's Laura Carmichael is Harry's mistrustful aunt, Maggie Pole, and the inimitable Dame Harriet Walter plays Harry's steely grandmother, Margaret Beaufort. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The First Teaser Trailer for," 25 Jan. 2019 This is a dazzlingly rich interpretation, utterly believable, never resorting to stereotype and laser-focused on the former first lady’s steely center. Chris Jones,, "'Blind Date' is an intriguing look at the Reagan era with Deanna Dunagan as a perfect Nancy," 30 Jan. 2018 Female candidates are also battered by professional consultants who claim to understand voters, and who tell them to be strong but approachable, warm but steely, mom but dad, young and bouncy but wise and grave. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "The Odd Way We Announce for President Now," 17 Jan. 2019 Having taken command at the agrarian Hilltop outpost of the Alexandria forces, our steely pregnant farmgirl widow is showing her mettle. Steve Johnson,, "What you need to know as 'Walking Dead' returns to finish Season 8," 23 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'steely.' 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 steely

1509, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near steely

steel wool







Statistics for steely

Last Updated

1 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for steely

The first known use of steely was in 1509

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More Definitions for steely



English Language Learners Definition of steely

: very strong and determined often in a cold or unfriendly way
: resembling steel especially in color


\ ˈstē-lē How to pronounce steely (audio) \
steelier; steeliest

Kids Definition of steely

: like steel (as in hardness, strength, or color) steely eyes

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More from Merriam-Webster on steely

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with steely

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for steely

Spanish Central: Translation of steely

Nglish: Translation of steely for Spanish Speakers

Comments on steely

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


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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