n., adj., & v.
n. 1 any of various alloys of iron and carbon with other elements increasing strength and malleability, much used for making tools, weapons, etc., and capable of being tempered to many different degrees of hardness. 2 hardness of character; strength, firmness (nerves of steel). 3 a a rod of steel, usu. roughened and tapering, on which knives are sharpened. b a strip of steel for expanding a skirt or stiffening a corset. 4 (not in pl.) literary a sword, lance, etc. (foemen worthy of their steel).
adj. 1 made of steel. 2 like or having the characteristics of steel.
v.tr. & refl. harden or make resolute (steeled myself for a shock). cold steel cutting or thrusting weapons. pressed steel steel moulded under pressure. steel band a group of usu. W. Indian musicians with percussion instruments made from oil drums. steel-clad wearing armour. steel engraving the process of engraving on or an impression taken from a steel-coated copper plate. steel wool an abrasive substance consisting of a mass of fine steel shavings.
[ OE style, steli f. Gmc, rel. to STAY(2) ]