\ ˈstē-lē \
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

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 Taking the look into still higher voltage territory were moody bordeaux pouts and smoked-out steely gazes drawn on by makeup artist Pat McGrath, while other models sported little more camouflage than gleaming, immaculately maintained skin. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "A Guide to Easy French Girl Glamour—Straight From the Chloé Runway," 27 Sep. 2018 Beyond looking breathtakingly gorgeous, Moore finds her steely reserve thanks to a resolute sense of political purpose. Alex Frank, Vogue, "This Breakout Star Dedicates Her Red Carpet Win to the Trans Community at the Golden Globes," 7 Jan. 2019 She was guarded with a steely poise that left room for speculation and little else. Koko Ntuen, Teen Vogue, "Aretha Franklin Taught Me to Respect Myself and Demand Respect from the World," 17 Aug. 2018 Tyler Perry as Colin Powell Photo: Annapurna Pictures Others in the cast are enjoyable too: Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld; Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush and Amy Adams as a shrewd and steely Lynne Cheney. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Vice’ Review: Comedy Without Gravity," 22 Dec. 2018 Paola is tall and slender, with a soft, sweet voice and steely blue eyes. Kyre Chenven, Condé Nast Traveler, "For Sardinia’s Wild Side, Head to Sulcis," 12 Oct. 2018 Growing up in Hutchinson, a small town about 60 miles west of Minneapolis, Whalen became a wizard on the hardwood with a quick step to the basket, a smooth jump shot and a steely gaze that always meant business on the court. Dave Campbell, The Seattle Times, "Lynx star, Minnesota legend: Whalen to retire from WNBA," 13 Aug. 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

6 Feb 2019

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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 \
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 express emotion in a dramatic way

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