Last modified on 20 August 2014, at 12:58

steel

EnglishEdit

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PronunciationEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English stele and stel, from Old English (North) stēle, (South) stȳle (the metal steel), from Proto-Germanic *stahliją (something made of steel) (compare West Frisian stiel), enlargement of *stahlą (the metal steel) (compare Dutch staal, German Stahl, Danish stål, Icelandic stál), from Proto-Germanic *stah- or *stag- (to be firm, rigid), from Proto-Indo-European *stak- (to stay, to be firm)[1] (compare Umbrian stakaz ‘upright, erected’, Avestan 𐬯𐬙𐬀𐬑𐬭𐬀 (staxra) ‘strong’, Sanskrit [script?] (stákati) ‘resist, strike against’), related to Proto-Indo-European *sta- (to stand).[2]

NounEdit

steel (countable and uncountable, plural steels)

  1. (uncountable) An artificial metal produced from iron, harder and more elastic than elemental iron; used figuratively as a symbol of hardness
    • c. 725, Corpus Gloss., 1431
      Ocearium stæli.
    • c. 825, Epinal Gloss., 49
      Accearium steeli.
    • c. 1275, Laȝamon, Brut, 12916
      Þe alle þine leomen wule to-draȝen. þeh þu weore stel al.
    • c. 1480, St. Mary Magdalen, 408 in 1896, W. M. Metcalfe, Legends Saints Sc. Dial., I 267
      Weman...with wordis cane rycht wele our-cum mene hard as stele.
    • 1601, P. Holland translating Pliny, Hist. World, II xxxiv xiv 514
      The purest part thereof [of iron ore] which in Latine is called Nucleus ferri, i. the kernell or heart of the yron (and it is that which we call steele)
    • c. 1616, William Shakespeare, Antony & Cleopatra, IV iv 33
      ...Like a man of Steele.
    • 1946, Thorpe's Dictionary of Applied Chemistry 4th ed., VII 47 1
      Steel may be roughly defined as an alloy of iron and carbon containing up to 1.7% carbon, all of the carbon being in the combined condition. A second definition, distinguishing it from cast or wrought iron, is that it has been produced in the molten condition, and a third states that steel can be hardened by quenching from a suitably high temperature. There are...certain exceptions to all these definitions.
    • 1976 Jul, Scientific American, 68 2
      For the iron to be made into steel (defined as iron with a carefully controlled carbon content of 1.7 percent or less) the sulfur, the silicon, and the excess carbon must be removed.
  2. (countable) Any item made of this metal, particularly including:
    1. Bladed or pointed weapons, as swords, javelins, daggers
      • c. 1250, The Owl & the Nightengale, 1030
        For heom ne may halter ne bridel Bringe from here wode wyse, Ne mon mid stele ne mid ire.
      • c. 1606, William Shakespeare, The Tragedie of Macbeth, I ii 35
        For braue Macbeth (well hee deſerues that Name)
        Diſdayning Fortune, with his brandiſht Steele,
        Which ſmoak'd with bloody execution
        (Like Valours Minion) caru'd out his paſſage
      • 1712, Lord Shaftesbury, Characteristicks, III 115
        But who wou'd dream that out of abundant Charity and Brotherly Love shou'd come Steel, Fire, Gibbets, Rods.
      • 1892, Rudyard Kipling, Barrack-room Ballads, 139
        They have asked for the steel. They shall have it now; Out cutlasses and board!
      • 1905, Oliver Elton translating Saxo-Grammaticus, The Nine Books of the Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus, II
        While one man was beating off the swords, the waters stole up silently and took him. Contrariwise, another was struggling with the waves, when the steel came up and encompassed him. The flowing waters were befouled with the gory spray. Thus the Ruthenians were conquered...
    2. A piece used for striking sparks from flint.
      • c. 1220, Bestiary, 535
        Of ston mid stel in ðe tunder wel to brennen one ðis wunder.
      • 1660, Robert Boyle, New Experiments Physico-mechanicall, XIV 89
        The Cock falling with its wonted violence upon the Steel.
    3. Armor
    4. A honing steel, a tool used to sharpen or hone metal blades
      • 1541 in 1844, J. Stuart, Extracts of the Council Register of Aberdeen, I 176
        The steill to scherp the schawing jrne.
      • 1883, Howard Pyle, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, V
        When he came to Nottingham, he entered that part of the market where butchers stood, and took up his inn in the best place he could find. Next, he opened his stall and spread his meat upon the bench, then, taking his cleaver and steel and clattering them together, he trolled aloud in merry tones...
    5. (sewing) Pieces used to strengthen, support, or expand an item of clothing
      • 1608, G. Markham & al., Dumbe Knight, I
        I haue a ruffe is a quarter deep, measured by the yeard... You haue a pretty set too, how big is the steele you set with?
      • 1904 Feb 22, Daily Chron, 5 4
        I suppose the bullet must have struck the steels in my corsets.
    6. (dialectical) A flat iron
      • 1638, J. Taylor, Bull, Beare, & Horse, C5
        One of them having occasion to use a Steele, smoothing Iron, or some such kinde of Laundry Instrument.
    7. (sewing, dialectical) A sewing needle; a knitting needle; a sharp metal stylus
      • 1785, William Cowper, Task, IV 165
        The threaded steel...Flies swiftly.
    8. (printing) An engraving plate
      • 1843, J. Ballantine, The gaberlunzie's wallet. With numerous illustrations on steel and wood.
      • 1887 Jun 11, Athenæum, 779 1
        A re-issue of the Examples of the Architecture of Venice. By John Ruskin... With the Text, and the 16 Plates (10 Steels and 6 Lithographs) as originally published.
    9. Projectiles
      • 1898 Jun 1, Westminster Gazette, 5 1
        The crews at the port batteries were pumping steel at the enemy.
    10. (sewing) A fringe of beads or decoration of this metal
      • 1899 Jan 26, Daily News, 6 3
        A trailing skirt embroidered in what is termed fine steel.
    11. (music, guitar) A type of slide used while playing the steel guitar.
  3. (countable) The part made from this metal, in reference to anything
    • c. 1473, William Caxton translating Raoul Le Fèvre, The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, I
      Employeng the steell of his swerd the most best wyse that in hym was possible.
  4. (uncountable, medicine, obsolete) Medicinal consumption of this metal; chalybeate medicine; (eventually) any iron or iron-treated water consumed as a medical treatment
    • 1649, H. Hammond, Christians Obligations, X 253
      A stronger physick is now necessary, perhaps a whole course of steel: A physick, God knowes, that this Kingdome hath been under five or six yeares.
    • 1704, J. Harris, Lexicon Technicum, L
      Steel is not so good as Iron for Medicinal Operation.
    • 1712 Sept 18, Jonathan Swift, Journal to Stella, II 558
      The Doctor tells me I must go into a Course of Steel, tho I have not the Spleen.
    • 1866, Princess Alice, Mem., 158
      I...am really only kept alive by steel.
  5. (countable) Varieties of this metal
    • 1839, A. Ure, Dict. Arts, 1172
      The bars are exposed to two or three successive processes of cementation, and are hence said to be twice or thrice converted into steels.
  6. (uncountable, colors) The gray hue of this metal; steel-gray
    • 1851 Dec 28, E. Ruskin, letter in 1965, M. Lutyens, Effie in Venice, II 236
      Falkenhayn gave...to Jane a steel glacé silk dress.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, 132
      It was a clear steel-blue day. The firmaments of air and sea were hardly separable in that all-pervading azure; only, the pensive air was transparently pure and soft, with a woman’s look, and the robust and man-like sea heaved with long, strong, lingering swells, as Samson’s chest in his sleep.
Derived termsEdit
TranslationsEdit

AdjectiveEdit

steel (not comparable)

  1. Made of steel
    • mid-14th c., Alisaunder, 416
      Strained in stel ger on steedes of might.
    • c. 1616, William Shakespeare, Othello, I iii 229
      The tyrant custome...Hath made the flinty and steele Cooch of warre, My thrice driuen bed of downe.
    • 1829, Walter Scott, Anne of Geierstein, III iii 78
      I will grasp the mountain-hedgehog, prickles and all, with my steel-gauntlet.
    • 1976, J. Wheeler-Bennett, Friends, Enemies, & Sovereigns, V 156
      King Peter attributed his father's, King Alexander's, death to the fact that...he had not worn his steel-mesh bullet-proof shirt.
  2. Similar to steel in color, strength, &c.; steely
    • c. 1560, T. Phaer translating Vergil, Nyne Fyrst Books of the Eneidos, X
      Wher neuer cessing soyle doth steelebright stuff send out from mines.
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, Sonnet CXXXIII
      Prison my heart in thy steele bosomes warde.
  3. (business) Of or belonging to the manufacture or trade in steel
    • 1601, Philemon Holland translating Pliny, The Historie of the World, I vii lvi 188
      ...The discoverie of the yron and steele mines.
    • 1837, Thomas Carlyle, French Revolution: A History, III v vi 327
      From their new dungeons at Chantilly, Aristocrats may hear the rustle of our new steel furnace there.
    • 1976 Jan 24, National Observer, 1 1
      East Chicago, Ind., a smoky Lake Michigan steel town that isn't exactly famous for its esthetic splendor even when the sun shines.
  4. (medicine, obsolete) Containing steel
    • 1652, J. French, York-shire Spaw, X 92
      To mix some Sugar of steel, or steel wine with the first glass.
    • 1675, G. Harvey, Dis. of London, XXIV 264
      I have found a singular Virtue in Steel drops, præpared after my Mode.
    • 1713 Feb 17, Jonathan Swift, Journal to Stella, II 622
      I...take some nasty steel drops, & may head has been bettr.
  5. (printing) Engraved on steel
    • 1880, Mark Twain, letter
      The best picture I have had yet is the steel frontis-piece to my new book.
TranslationsEdit

VerbEdit

steel (third-person singular simple present steels, present participle steeling, simple past and past participle steeled)

  1. (transitive) To edge, cover, or point with steel
    • c. 1240, Sawles Warde in The Cotton Homilies, 253
      Hure þolien ant a beoren hare unirude duntes wið mealles istelet.
    • 1597, William Shakespeare, Richard III, I i 148
      • Ile in to vrge his hatred more to Clarence, With lies well steeld with weighty arguments.
    • 1651, Bishop Jeremy Taylor, XXVIII Sermons Preacht at Golden Grove, Being for the Summer Half-year, XIX 248
      When God...draws aside his curtain, and shows his arsenal and his armory, full of arrows steeled with wrath.
    • 1831, John Holland, A Treatise on the Progressive Improvement and Present State of the Manufactures in Metal, I 220
      It was the common notion...that the art of steeling tools in the highest degree of perfection was certainly lost to the moderns.
  2. (transitive) To harden or strengthen; to nerve or make obdurate; to fortify against
    • 1581, A. Hall translating Homer, 10 Bks. Iliades, VI 110
      But stil he was so steelde With heart so good, as victor he dead left them in the field.
    • 1593, William Shakespeare, Venus & Adonis
      Giue me my heart...O giue it me lest thy hard heart do steele it, And being steeld, soft sighes can neuer graue it.
    • 1796, F. Burney, Camilla, II iv vi 370
      Steel yourself, then, firmly to withstand attacks from the cruel and unfeeling.
    • 1882, F. W. Farrar, Early Days Christianity, II 380
      The rich experience of a long life steeled in the victorious struggle with every unchristian element.
  3. (transitive, obsolete, of mirrors) To back with steel
    • c. 1630, John Donne, Sermons, VI 289
      Nay, a Crystall glasse will not show a man his face, except it be steeled, except it be darkned on the backside.
  4. (transitive, medicine, obsolete) To treat a liquid with steel for medicinal purposes
    • 1657, J. Cooke translating J. Hall, Cures, 117
      She drunk her drink steeled, with which she was cured.
  5. (transitive, dialectical) To press with a flat iron
    • 1746, Exmoor Scolding 3rd ed., II 14
      Tha hasn't tha Sense to stile thy own Dressing.
  6. (transitive, uncommon) To cause to resemble steel in appearance
    • 1807, William Wordsworth, Sonn. to Liberty, II v
      And lo! those waters, steeled By breezeless air to smoothest polish, yield A vivid repetition of the stars.
  7. (transitive) To steelify; to turn iron into steel
    • 1853 in Jrnl. Franklin Inst., CXXV 303
      By passing an electric current thus through the bars the operation of steeling is much hastened.
    • 1977 Oct, Scientific American, 127 1
      It seems evident that by the beginning of the 10th century B.C. blacksmiths were intentionally steeling iron.
  8. (transitive) To electroplate an item, particularly an engraving plate, with a layer of iron
    • 1880, P. G. Hamerton, Etching & Etchers 3rd ed., 342
      My large dry-point,...called Two Stumps of Driftwood, gave 1000 copies (after being steeled) without perceptible wearing.
  9. (transitive) To sharpen with a steel

Etymology 2Edit

From French Bastille (a French prison)[3] via Cockney rhyming slang

Proper nounEdit

steel

  1. (UK, crime, slang, obsolete) Coldbath Fields Prison in London, closed 1877
    • 1811, Lexicon Balatronicum
      Steel, the house of correction.
    • 1819, J. H. Vaux, New Vocab. Flash Lang. in Mem.
      Bastile, generally called for shortnes, the steel a cant name for the House of Correction, Cold-Bath-Fields, London.

AnagramsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, "Steel, n. 1" & "v."
  2. ^ steel” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. "Steel, n. 2".

DutchEdit

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

steel m (plural stelen, diminutive steeltje n)

  1. stem (of a plant)
  2. handle (of a broom, a pan)

SynonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

VerbEdit

steel

  1. first-person singular present indicative of stelen
  2. imperative of stelen

AnagramsEdit