1. <chemistry> A variety of iron intermediate in composition and properties between wrought iron and cast iron (containing between one half of one per cent and one and a half per cent of carbon), and consisting of an alloy of iron with an iron carbide. Steel, unlike wrought iron, can be tempered, and retains magnetism. Its malleability decreases, and fusibility increases, with an increase in carbon.
2. An instrument or implement made of steel; as:
<medicine> Bessemer steel, a variety of steel containing a small amount of tungsten, and noted for its tenacity and hardness, as well as for its malleability and tempering qualities. It is also noted for its magnetic properties.
Origin: AS. Stel, steel, steele; akin to D. Staal, G. Stahl, OHG. Stahal, Icel. Stal, Dan. Staal, Sw. Stal, Old Prussian stakla.
2. To make hard or strong; hence, to make insensible or obdurate. "Lies well steeled with weighty arguments." (Shak) "O God of battles! steel my soldier's hearts." (Shak) "Why will you fight against so sweet a passion, And steel your heart to such a world of charms?" (Addison)
Origin: AS. Stlan: cf. Icel. Staela. See Steel.
(01 Mar 1998)
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