One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Chiefly literary (frequently derogatory). A woman regarded as hard-hearted or unfeeling; a strong, determined, or unyielding woman.
2A woman who is hardy, robust, or capable of great endurance; now specifically a powerful female athlete, especially one who excels in endurance events.
Mid 19th century. From iron + woman, after iron man.
iron woman/ˌʌɪən ˈwʊmən/
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