Definition of iron in US English:

iron

noun

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

    Iron is widely distributed as ores such as hematite, magnetite, and siderite, and the earth's core is believed to consist largely of metallic iron and nickel. Besides steel, other important forms of the metal are cast iron and wrought iron. Chemically a transition element, iron is a constituent of some biological molecules, notably hemoglobin

    • ‘Elements on Earth such as oxygen, calcium, iron and gold came long ago from exploding stars such as this one.’
    • ‘But materials such as iron, or cobalt have an unequal numbers of up and down electron spins and are magnetic.’
    • ‘Mordants most commonly used in tissue staining are salts of aluminum, chromium, iron, potassium, and tungsten.’
    • ‘Calcium, sulphur, magnesium, aluminium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.’
    • ‘This shining metal was not raw iron but hard steel, which bent the softer wrought-iron blades of the Gauls.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A magnet is the device that attracts certain types of metals, like iron or steel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Slaves worked in all the metal crafts - iron, tin, copper, gold, and silver.’
    • ‘Put your money in iron and steel, chemicals, or timber.’
    • ‘Iron ore is Austria's most important mineral resource, and metal and metal products, especially iron and steel, lead the manufacturing sector.’
    • ‘Gold, silver, copper, aluminum, iron, etc., all have free electrons.’
    • ‘These are referred to as nuisance contaminants and include calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide.’
    • ‘Transportation equipment, machinery, cement and other building materials, iron, and steel are major imports of Somalia.’
    • ‘The magnetic properties of iron, the only metal with which can be magnetized.’
    • ‘Glauconite is close in composition to muscovite but has some iron, magnesium, sodium, and calcium.’
    • ‘It results from the reaction of phosphorus with iron and aluminum in acidic soils, and calcium in alkaline soils.’
    • ‘Analysts also point to production overcapacity in motor vehicles and other raw materials like iron and steel and aluminium.’
    made of iron
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Compounds of iron, especially as a component of the diet.
      ‘serve liver as it's a good source of iron’
      as modifier ‘how are your iron levels?’
      • ‘However, before you supplement with iron you should ask your physician to test your blood levels of iron, says Kretsch.’
      • ‘Carrots may have lost 46 per cent of their iron but they are not a good source of iron in the diet anyway.’
      • ‘Poor nutrition decreases levels of iron and vitamin B, leading to anemia.’
      • ‘They suggest that recovering patients reduce iron in their diet.’
      • ‘Men, on the other hand, are at a risk of having too much iron in their diet because they do not regularly lose blood, as women do in their menstrual cycle.’
      • ‘Foods that say ‘enriched’ or ‘iron-fortified’ on the label are a good source of iron.’
      • ‘The best sources of iron are beef and other meats.’
      • ‘A well-balanced diet including good iron sources is the best start.’
      • ‘Watching fat grams often means cutting red meat or dark chicken, both iron sources, from one's diet.’
      • ‘Without question, the first step to reducing your risk of iron deficiency anemia is to take in highly available forms of iron in your diet.’
      • ‘To make the situation worse, spinach contains phytate, a compound that prevents iron from entering the bloodstream.’
      • ‘The amount of iron in the diet of veal calves is carefully controlled to produce the pale meat product demanded by the marketplace.’
      • ‘They hypothesise that low levels of iron can actually increase the absorption of other metals into the bloodstream.’
      • ‘People with high levels of iron in their diet are more likely to develop Parkinson's disease, new research suggests.’
      • ‘Because it's difficult to get enough iron from diet alone, iron supplementation is recommended.’
      • ‘Liver, however, is a good source of iron in the diet although iron is also found in red meat, pulses, bread, green vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals.’
      • ‘This is done on serum as anticlotting compounds bind serum iron.’
      • ‘The purpose of the clearing bath is to remove iron compounds.’
      • ‘Soya beans is said to be a major source of iron content in human diet.’
      • ‘Snetselaar chose to focus on teenagers, she said, because many teens have low levels of iron in their diets.’
    2. 1.2 Used figuratively as a symbol or type of firmness, strength, or resistance.
      ‘her father had a will of iron’
      as modifier ‘the iron grip of the president on every aspect of foreign policy’
      • ‘The most interesting question is whether the prime minister's iron grip on his party slipping?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So small a phrase, and yet it bore the strength of iron.’
      • ‘The magazine finally hit the newsstands again after Soeharto relinquished his iron grip in 1998.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Strength of iron flowing in her veins allow her to conquer agony.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the team maintained their iron grip on the trainer and jockey championships.’
      • ‘The chancellor's true agenda, of course, is to maintain the Treasury's iron grip on government spending.’
      • ‘He has had a Godfather's ruthlessness in his iron grip over the Catholic Church, his refusal to incorporate modern thinking into its teaching.’
      • ‘It all depends, I suppose, on whether his whips still have the backbenchers in their iron grip.’
      • ‘Some suggest his iron grip of the party he personifies may be on the wane.’
      • ‘Personally she is my favourite, although I also like Hope's inner iron strength, and Faith's inner vulnerability.’
      • ‘For the first time in 20 years, his iron grip on the company was getting shaky.’
      • ‘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.’
      strength, toughness, resilience, fortitude, firmness, robustness, hardiness, steel
      uncompromising, unrelenting, unyielding, unbending, resolute, resolved, determined, firm, rigid, steadfast, unwavering, unvacillating
      View synonyms
  • 2A tool or implement now or originally made of iron.

    ‘a caulking iron’
    • ‘Gradually the business changed to supplying shoe irons for blacksmiths and began making nails.’
    • ‘Small-scale manufacturers also often relied on local smiths to provide the iron parts they required, be it mill irons or parts for vehicles.’
    tool, implement, utensil, device, apparatus, appliance, contrivance, contraption, mechanism
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1irons Fetters 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.’
      manacles, shackles, fetters, chains, restraints, handcuffs
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2US informal A handgun.
  • 3A handheld implement with a flat steel base that is heated (typically with electricity) to smooth clothes, sheets, etc.

    • ‘Instead of a heated iron, the upper part of the base supports a pierced basket for charcoal.’
    • ‘The employees are not allowed to use electrical appliances like cookers, refrigerators and pressing irons for fear of overloading the system.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Working section by section, smooth hair with a flat iron.’
    • ‘Omnabibi uses an electric iron for her creased clothes.’
    • ‘Smaller but still significant numbers of people buy electric irons and kitchen equipment.’
    • ‘Using an electric iron, the sheets were pressed flat.’
    • ‘They hired home-economists, mainly women, to teach housewives how to use irons, electric stoves, and other appliances that depended on gas electricity.’
    • ‘I am on light electrical goods - irons, food mixers, shavers and the like.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many households in this decade acquired electric stoves, washing machines, irons, radios, and vacuum cleaners.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And with an electric iron and electric lights, Mother has something to do to fill in her evenings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The children are now left with only an electric iron and a pile of books.’
    • ‘It advertised washing machines, electric irons, and Pyrex casseroles.’
    • ‘When used on already dry hair, a flat iron, explains Romero, locks in moisture, creating smooth and shiny locks while eliminating frizz.’
    • ‘Scattered around in interlinked systems are kettles, irons, a hot plate, mixers, electric fans, hairdryers and other household appliances.’
    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).

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘From a good lie in short grass, there's plenty of loft on any short iron to get this done.’
    • ‘You are better served carrying four or five woods, a putter and the rest irons.’
    • ‘Goosen then used a two iron to drive the ball under a tree and onto the lower tier of the 18th green.’
    • ‘Having too flat a lie angle on an iron tends to send the ball right, because the clubface points right of the target.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Using a 9 iron, the ball landed four feet in front of the hole and rolled right in.’
    • ‘Many amateurs shorten the backswing on short irons, then hit the ball as quickly and as hard as they can.’
    • ‘Consequently, players of average skill should find it easier to launch the golf ball higher with newer irons.’
    • ‘Resist the urge to cut it close with a longer iron to move the ball farther down the fairway.’
    • ‘It teaches you to make proper divots with your irons and results in a powerful, controlled ball flight.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Stads turns his shoulders at least 90 degrees on every full swing, irons and woods.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Still, my thought is of the way Nicklaus seems to caress the golf ball with his irons - the balls stays longer on his clubface.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The best tip for long irons is to try to sweep the ball off the turf.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 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.

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

Phrases

  • have many (or other) irons in the fire

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

      • ‘In addition, each member of the production crew has other irons in the fire, like Stanislaus's first short film production, slated for March.’
      • ‘Ex-Pike Mark Willoughby came in for Saturday's match and may well feature again and Reid has other irons in the fire.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Certainly she has hinted she has other irons in the fire if the public tire of her on screen.’
      • ‘We still have other irons in the fire and should have a strong squad.’
  • in irons

    • 1Having the feet or hands fettered.

      • ‘He had the British sailors, including one Irishmen, whipped and put them in irons for several days.’
      • ‘Guards waited there with a man in irons, all standing to one side.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ned took off their gunbelts and secured them in irons.’
      • ‘They caught us trying to get back on the ship like nothing had happened, and we wound up in irons.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He, therefore, decreed that the stranger be brought before him shackled in irons.’
      • ‘However the Pandora captain quickly slapped them in irons.’
      • ‘Four marines emerged on deck with a swarthy looking, squint-eyed pirate, his arms and legs in irons.’
      • ‘Back talk again, and you will be clamped in irons and thrown in the brig until we get to the next port.’
      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.

      • ‘Once upon a time, colonial Britain ruled India with 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.’
      • ‘The fact is that India has realised that the only way to tackle China is with an iron hand in a velvet glove.’
      • ‘Made with throwaway good humour, here was an iron fist 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.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • iron something out

    • Solve or settle difficulties or problems.

      ‘they had ironed out their differences’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Within four to five weeks most of the problems will be ironed out.’
      • ‘He said the purpose of staging the pilot postal ballot was to identify potential problems so they could be 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.’
      • ‘But these problems will be ironed out within the next few weeks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However it looks like the last remaining problems with the pipe will be ironed out soon.’
      • ‘Normal service will resume as soon as my technical issues are ironed out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Although problems will be ironed out over time, early adopters have to accept that they may have to send machines back.’
      • ‘Most of the niggling faults had been ironed out by this stage.’
      • ‘Engineering and signalling concerns are slowing the process, but the council is confident the problems can be ironed out.’
      • ‘Once the present problems are ironed out, a policy paper should be brought out on participation of private managements in the educational sector.’
      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

/ˈī(ə)rn//ˈaɪ(ə)rn/