steel + yard (“enclosed area, rod”); sense of place a calque of Dutch staalhof/Middle Low German Stalhof (Modern Dutch staal (“steel”) + hof (“court, yard”)). In sense of “balance” presumably from the place, originally “steelyard beam”, mixed with additional sense of “rod” (hence “rod for weighing steel”), replacing earlier Latin statera.
steelyard (plural steelyards)
- A transportable balance with unequal arm lengths.
- A place where steel (and possibly other metals as well) is stored and sold.