Definition of iron in English:

iron

noun

  • 1[mass noun] A strong, hard magnetic silvery-grey metal, the chemical element of atomic number 26, much used as a material for construction and manufacturing, especially in the form of steel.

    Compare with steel
    • ‘Gold, silver, copper, aluminum, iron, etc., all have free electrons.’
    • ‘Slaves worked in all the metal crafts - iron, tin, copper, gold, and silver.’
    • ‘These are referred to as nuisance contaminants and include calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide.’
    • ‘The use of certain essential materials such as iron, steel, copper, and industrial chemicals was either prohibited or restricted.’
    • ‘The resulting alloy is stronger and harder than iron or bronze.’
    • ‘The magnetic properties of iron, the only metal with which can be magnetized.’
    • ‘Analysts also point to production overcapacity in motor vehicles and other raw materials like iron and steel and aluminium.’
    • ‘Calcium, sulphur, magnesium, aluminium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.’
    • ‘Iron ore is Austria's most important mineral resource, and metal and metal products, especially iron and steel, lead the manufacturing sector.’
    • ‘It results from the reaction of phosphorus with iron and aluminum in acidic soils, and calcium in alkaline soils.’
    • ‘Their mining, processing, and manufacturing of iron, copper, bronze, lead, gold, and silver objects were on a par with the rest of the Roman world.’
    • ‘Another important application of tin is tinplating, the process by which a thin coat of tin is laid down over the surface of steel, iron, or some other metal.’
    • ‘Mordants most commonly used in tissue staining are salts of aluminum, chromium, iron, potassium, and tungsten.’
    • ‘This shining metal was not raw iron but hard steel, which bent the softer wrought-iron blades of the Gauls.’
    • ‘But materials such as iron, or cobalt have an unequal numbers of up and down electron spins and are magnetic.’
    • ‘Transportation equipment, machinery, cement and other building materials, iron, and steel are major imports of Somalia.’
    • ‘Glauconite is close in composition to muscovite but has some iron, magnesium, sodium, and calcium.’
    • ‘Elements on Earth such as oxygen, calcium, iron and gold came long ago from exploding stars such as this one.’
    • ‘Put your money in iron and steel, chemicals, or timber.’
    • ‘A magnet is the device that attracts certain types of metals, like iron or steel.’
    made of iron
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Used figuratively as a symbol or type of firmness, strength, or resistance.
      ‘her father had a will of iron’
      [as modifier] ‘the iron grip of religion on minority cultures’
      • ‘The chancellor's true agenda, of course, is to maintain the Treasury's iron grip on government spending.’
      • ‘It was the first threat to Mugabe's iron grip on power since independence in 1980.’
      • ‘It is a fiendishly difficult task at a time when nothing seems to shake Labour's iron grip on power in Scotland.’
      • ‘The most interesting question is whether the prime minister's iron grip on his party slipping?’
      • ‘But it also forms part of a two-decade effort to tap the benefits of private business without giving up the party's iron grip on the country's political system.’
      • ‘The iron grip that Williams wielded over his ministers and senior party officials was the envy of other political leaders, who all tried to emulate him.’
      • ‘Some suggest his iron grip of the party he personifies may be on the wane.’
      • ‘McCoy has been Pipe's stable jockey for the past nine years and the decision to leave could mean the end of the Northern Irish jockey's iron grip on the riders' championship.’
      • ‘Strength of iron flowing in her veins allow her to conquer agony.’
      • ‘It was the wrong thing to say, for he grabbed her wrist in his hand, clamping down on it with iron strength in a painful reminder of what he was.’
      • ‘Personally she is my favourite, although I also like Hope's inner iron strength, and Faith's inner vulnerability.’
      • ‘The magazine finally hit the newsstands again after Soeharto relinquished his iron grip in 1998.’
      • ‘So small a phrase, and yet it bore the strength of iron.’
      • ‘It all depends, I suppose, on whether his whips still have the backbenchers in their iron grip.’
      • ‘If it wasn't for her iron grip all those developing sexual urges during the Eighties, I don't reckon they would be having half as much fun now.’
      • ‘But just staging the production is a remarkably brave act in a country where a tiny leadership elite uses its iron grip to promote once-vilified capitalist policies.’
      • ‘Kohl, hailed by friend and foe for his part in unifying Germany and building a united Europe, was accused of using secret slush funds to keep his iron grip on the party he led for twenty-five years.’
      • ‘For the first time in 20 years, his iron grip on the company was getting shaky.’
      • ‘He has had a Godfather's ruthlessness in his iron grip over the Catholic Church, his refusal to incorporate modern thinking into its teaching.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the team maintained their iron grip on the trainer and jockey championships.’
  • 2A tool or implement now or originally made of iron.

    ‘a caulking iron’
    • ‘Small-scale manufacturers also often relied on local smiths to provide the iron parts they required, be it mill irons or parts for vehicles.’
    • ‘Gradually the business changed to supplying shoe irons for blacksmiths and began making nails.’
    tool, implement, utensil, device, apparatus, appliance, contrivance, contraption, mechanism
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Metal supports for a malformed leg.
    2. 2.2Fetters or handcuffs.
      • ‘Her feet were bound by irons, dress ripped ripped, and battered towards one side, while the other side draped down, just above the ankles.’
      • ‘My military police personnel have never had to use leg cuffs, leg irons or hand irons or belly chains to move detainees.’
    3. 2.3informal Stirrups.
      • ‘With jockey Rex Stokes III in the irons, Spruce Run crossed the finish line in 1: 39.97.’
      • ‘With regular rider Frankie Dettori recovering from injuries suffered in an airplane crash, John Velazquez will be in the irons.’
      • ‘But despite his foot coming out of one of his irons, Batchelor kept his cool and his mount dug deep to claim the victory with Lacdoudal.’
      • ‘Jerry Bailey will retain his regular mount aboard Orientate, while Pat Day will be in the irons with Day Trader.’
      • ‘Earlier in the afternoon, Leyenda Dorada, with John Bisono in the irons, came from just off the pace to win the $87,440 Copa Dama del Caribe.’
      • ‘With Jerry Bailey in the irons, 7-to - 10 favorite Defer tracked in third behind early leader Elusive Thunder and Funk.’
      • ‘Jockey Frank Amonte has perched expertly in the irons upon countless thoroughbreds since he officially began his race riding career in 1951.’
      • ‘With jockey Yutaka Take in the irons, To the Victory dug in gamely and narrowly outran Rosebud to the wire.’
      • ‘I ride confidently, with just my toes in the irons, so I suppose it could be said it was my fault.’
      • ‘On the manager's office's left side was a grand, immense tack room, holding saddles, bridles, leathers, irons, and all assortments of tack to a large magnitude.’
      • ‘As with many of his 2,000 victories, jockey Josiah Hampshire Jr. was in the irons.’
      • ‘Siphonic drew the rail, and he will have jockey Mike Smith in the irons.’
      • ‘With jockey Rafael Bejarano in the irons, the time off obviously agreed with the multiple graded stakes winner.’
      • ‘With Todd Kabel in the irons, Bachelor Blues set a pressured pace early, then opened a two-length lead through a half-mile in: 46.26.’
      • ‘The regular rider will be in the irons for the start.’
      • ‘With Randall Meier in the irons, Jaguar Friend earned his first stakes win and second straight victory in three career starts.’
      • ‘With exercise rider in the irons, Evening Attire galloped once around the Belmont training track on Tuesday morning.’
      • ‘Melancon is in his 30th year in the irons at age 46.’
      • ‘With jockey Juan Gutierrez in the irons, Curicular made a determined rally down the stretch to put a neck in front of Crowning Quest in the final strides.’
      • ‘Cupid's Glory, with Seb Sanders in the irons, struck the lead approximately three furlongs out, after racing forwardly through the first half-mile.’
  • 3A handheld implement, typically an electrical one, with a heated flat steel base, used to smooth clothes, sheets, etc.

    • ‘They hired home-economists, mainly women, to teach housewives how to use irons, electric stoves, and other appliances that depended on gas electricity.’
    • ‘It advertised washing machines, electric irons, and Pyrex casseroles.’
    • ‘Instead of a heated iron, the upper part of the base supports a pierced basket for charcoal.’
    • ‘Many households in this decade acquired electric stoves, washing machines, irons, radios, and vacuum cleaners.’
    • ‘Back then, a cowpoke would rope a steer, wrestle it to the ground, and a compatriot would use an iron heated over a campfire to burn a mark into the cow's hide.’
    • ‘Smaller but still significant numbers of people buy electric irons and kitchen equipment.’
    • ‘And with an electric iron and electric lights, Mother has something to do to fill in her evenings.’
    • ‘When used on already dry hair, a flat iron, explains Romero, locks in moisture, creating smooth and shiny locks while eliminating frizz.’
    • ‘Omnabibi uses an electric iron for her creased clothes.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, many shops selling computers also sell everything from electric irons to cookers, so you may find staff less than expert when it comes to the finer points of technology.’
    • ‘Working section by section, smooth hair with a flat iron.’
    • ‘I am on light electrical goods - irons, food mixers, shavers and the like.’
    • ‘For the middle classes, the decline of domestic servants was facilitated by the rise of domestic appliances, such as cookers, electric irons and vacuum cleaners.’
    • ‘In addition to this there is always room for extra shelves in the hot press and wardrobes to keep smaller items such as irons, hairdryers, electric shavers.’
    • ‘Scattered around in interlinked systems are kettles, irons, a hot plate, mixers, electric fans, hairdryers and other household appliances.’
    • ‘Many of the electrical goods we use today such as the electric iron, shaver, vacuum cleaner and washing machine were invented in the early part of the 20th century.’
    • ‘The children are now left with only an electric iron and a pile of books.’
    • ‘You'll be driving along a lovely country road looking for wild flowers and admiring the scenery and there will be a huge pile of TVs, toasters, irons, computers, washing machines, fridges in a ditch.’
    • ‘The employees are not allowed to use electrical appliances like cookers, refrigerators and pressing irons for fear of overloading the system.’
    • ‘Using an electric iron, the sheets were pressed flat.’
    flat iron, electric iron, steam iron, smoothing iron
    View synonyms
  • 4A golf club with a metal head (typically with a numeral indicating the degree to which the head is angled in order to loft the ball)

    [in combination] ‘a four-iron’
    • ‘It teaches you to make proper divots with your irons and results in a powerful, controlled ball flight.’
    • ‘Many amateurs shorten the backswing on short irons, then hit the ball as quickly and as hard as they can.’
    • ‘Resist the urge to cut it close with a longer iron to move the ball farther down the fairway.’
    • ‘Still, my thought is of the way Nicklaus seems to caress the golf ball with his irons - the balls stays longer on his clubface.’
    • ‘Consequently, players of average skill should find it easier to launch the golf ball higher with newer irons.’
    • ‘Using a 9 iron, the ball landed four feet in front of the hole and rolled right in.’
    • ‘If you hit your driver too low and slice it, you might be better off driving with a fairway wood or even a middle iron to get the ball in play.’
    • ‘Having too flat a lie angle on an iron tends to send the ball right, because the clubface points right of the target.’
    • ‘With your irons, the ball should be a couple of inches inside your left heel, and the shaft should be pointing at your belt buckle.’
    • ‘Stads turns his shoulders at least 90 degrees on every full swing, irons and woods.’
    • ‘Practicing with a middle iron, position the ball slightly forward of the center of your stance.’
    • ‘Charles hits the ball vast distances with both his driver and his irons.’
    • ‘You are better served carrying four or five woods, a putter and the rest irons.’
    • ‘He was a great driver of the ball, but with his irons he didn't come down on a steep enough plane, and he hit these sweeping draws.’
    • ‘When you're going to hit a low tee shot, it's better to tee the ball low and use a driver instead of an iron.’
    • ‘He may not be improving off the tee, but lately he's been controlling his ball with his irons better than he has all year.’
    • ‘From a good lie in short grass, there's plenty of loft on any short iron to get this done.’
    • ‘Could not drive straight, could not manipulate the ball with irons and had a putter that was so cold it might have dripped with ice.’
    • ‘The best tip for long irons is to try to sweep the ball off the turf.’
    • ‘Goosen then used a two iron to drive the ball under a tree and onto the lower tier of the 18th green.’
    1. 4.1A shot made with an iron.
      ‘his long irons were majestic’
      • ‘The more prudent play is to keep the second shot to the right and then play a short iron into the green.’
      • ‘I bombed my tee shot, put a short iron on the green and two-putted for par.’
      • ‘Imagine: three-shot holes; long irons to par - 4s; shots bending in the wind.’
  • 5Astronomy
    A meteorite containing a high proportion of iron.

    • ‘There are three basic types of meteorites: stones, stony-irons, and irons.’

verb

  • [with object] Smooth (clothes, sheets, etc.) with an iron.

    • ‘The last time Sue saw her son he was getting ready to go out on April 1 and she had ironed his shirt because he was in a rush.’
    • ‘In fact, my mother and I also washed and ironed his clothes in case the Minister has forgotten that part of his story.’
    • ‘Since it was a black shirt and Coke stains aren't visible, I still wore it, but ironed it again to dry it off.’
    • ‘No longer attend work in clothes that have not been ironed, this is the sign of a slovenly worker, and thus a slovenly intellect.’
    • ‘Gabriel was suddenly sitting up so straight, I could have ironed a shirt on his back.’
    • ‘His face is scrubbed, his clothes are ironed and his hair is slicked down.’
    • ‘Even the man who ironed clothes near Jayashri's home was overawed and showed her new respect.’
    • ‘I used to have people who hung up my clothes for me, and washed them and ironed them, and all that sort of stuff.’
    • ‘His clothes were always ironed and as put together as anything you'd see on a store mannequin.’
    • ‘As Carlo ironed my best Egyptian cotton sheets we were discussing Sandy's imminent visit.’
    • ‘Damn, I should have ironed my clothes, there a mess; he must think I'm a slob.’
    • ‘My clothes for tomorrow are actually ironed with the exception of the compulsory jacket-thing that is hung up drying.’
    • ‘We washed the clothes, ironed them, put them back in their suitcases and sent them back off to America as soon as we could.’
    • ‘Too hung over, he just ironed his suit and tried to make it look nice.’
    • ‘Then he starched and ironed one half of the shirt, placed flat on his white-cotton clad ironing table.’
    • ‘Send your shirts away to be ironed; send your grass away to be cut.’
    • ‘I went to the room spare and ironed my shirt and my face and suddenly felt on top of the world.’
    • ‘Well, I think a white cotton shirt that is properly ironed and starched looks great.’
    • ‘I knew by the look of it that Mother had starched and ironed the shirt, and his black pants too.’
    • ‘She was sitting up so straight that I could actually have ironed a shirt on her back.’

Phrases

  • have many (or other) irons in the fire

    • Have a range of options or courses of action available, or be involved in many activities or commitments at the same time.

      • ‘Ex-Pike Mark Willoughby came in for Saturday's match and may well feature again and Reid has other irons in the fire.’
      • ‘Certainly she has hinted she has other irons in the fire if the public tire of her on screen.’
      • ‘Scrutinizing its own detailed costs in isolation is one avenue the company has taken to improve its performance, but the managers have other irons in the fire.’
      • ‘In addition, each member of the production crew has other irons in the fire, like Stanislaus's first short film production, slated for March.’
      • ‘I know Dean had other irons in the fire, including an offer from Luton Town.’
      • ‘I have other irons in the fire and I need some time away to deal with them, and I think we need some new blood in the chair.’
      • ‘We still have other irons in the fire and should have a strong squad.’
      • ‘Andy Marriott was good for us in every sense of the word and he allowed us to make sure Glyn was 100 per cent fit but he had other irons in the fire.’
  • in irons

    • 1Having the feet or hands fettered.

      • ‘Ned took off their gunbelts and secured them in irons.’
      • ‘Guards waited there with a man in irons, all standing to one side.’
      • ‘By the time the pirate crew was clamped in irons and stowed in the forecastle of Indefatigable, the sun was well on its way to the next hemisphere.’
      • ‘Back talk again, and you will be clamped in irons and thrown in the brig until we get to the next port.’
      • ‘He, therefore, decreed that the stranger be brought before him shackled in irons.’
      • ‘He had the British sailors, including one Irishmen, whipped and put them in irons for several days.’
      • ‘They caught us trying to get back on the ship like nothing had happened, and we wound up in irons.’
      • ‘By now, Williams must know how exactly Joseph K felt; the world has suddenly turned hostile and indifferent and there are many who would like to see the Australian sent back to Botany Bay in irons.’
      • ‘Four marines emerged on deck with a swarthy looking, squint-eyed pirate, his arms and legs in irons.’
      • ‘However the Pandora captain quickly slapped them in irons.’
      tied, tied up, roped, tethered, chained, fettered, shackled, hobbled, secured
      View synonyms
    • 2(of a sailing vessel) stalled head to wind and unable to come about or tack either way.

      • ‘But as it has such high windage on the hull alone, that if you try putting her in irons [head to wind], she'll start moving backwards quite fast.’
  • an iron fist (or hand) in a velvet glove

    • Firmness or ruthlessness cloaked in outward gentleness.

      • ‘The fact is that India has realised that the only way to tackle China is with an iron hand in a velvet glove.’
      • ‘The US and Britain have compromised to buy goodwill, retaining the right to strike with an iron fist in a velvet glove.’
      • ‘Made with throwaway good humour, here was an iron fist in a velvet glove.’
      • ‘Ressler, who hides an iron fist in a velvet glove, did not miss the opportunity to praise them, while having a dig at current technical director.’
      • ‘Once upon a time, colonial Britain ruled India with an iron fist in a velvet glove.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • iron something out

    • Solve or settle difficulties or problems.

      ‘they had ironed out their differences’
      • ‘Although problems will be ironed out over time, early adopters have to accept that they may have to send machines back.’
      • ‘That rustiness contributed to some of the home errors, but if they can be ironed out and if the players can gel just that bit more, then the only way is up.’
      • ‘This situation is an accident just waiting to happen so let's hope that the fault is ironed out promptly.’
      • ‘However they will be on probation for a number of years while shortfalls in their economies, governance and legal systems are ironed out and brought up to EU standards.’
      • ‘We have got to make sure that people understand the time is urgent and I hope even at this late stage any of the difficulties can be ironed out and dealt with.’
      • ‘Yesterday's and this morning's driving has been along some of Europe's poorest, bumpiest roads but they have been ironed out beautifully by that ‘honed’ suspension that features a five-link rear axle.’
      • ‘Once the present problems are ironed out, a policy paper should be brought out on participation of private managements in the educational sector.’
      • ‘But these problems will be ironed out within the next few weeks.’
      • ‘There are some technicalities, which have to be resolved, but I am confident that any difficulties will be ironed out because air marshals will be a feature of the international aviation scheme before very long.’
      • ‘He said the factory at Point Lisas was a new venture by the group, and he expected there would be teething problems, but that they would be ironed out sooner rather than later.’
      • ‘Most of the niggling faults had been ironed out by this stage.’
      • ‘He said the purpose of staging the pilot postal ballot was to identify potential problems so they could be ironed out.’
      • ‘Within four to five weeks most of the problems will be ironed out.’
      • ‘If costs are shouldered and technical difficulties have been ironed out by these, ID cards will have a much smaller hill to climb in cabinet.’
      • ‘Time is passing, wounds heal, old creases are ironed out as new ones form and things eventually move along and work themselves out.’
      • ‘However it looks like the last remaining problems with the pipe will be ironed out soon.’
      • ‘In a situation like this, ideally you would have had a warm-up game and if there were any small glitches, they could be ironed out.’
      • ‘Engineering and signalling concerns are slowing the process, but the council is confident the problems can be ironed out.’
      • ‘Normal service will resume as soon as my technical issues are ironed out.’
      • ‘However, the audio problems were ironed out by the time a few tunes had past and the rest of their set went smoothly.’
      resolve, straighten out, sort out, clear up, settle, put right, set right, set to rights, find a solution to, solve, remedy, heal, cure, rectify
      eliminate, eradicate, erase, get rid of, smooth over
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English īren, īsen, īsern, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch ijzer and German Eisen, and probably ultimately from Celtic.

Pronunciation:

iron

/ˈʌɪən/