- iron [ī′ərn]n.[ME iren < OE (chiefly poetic & prob. dissimilated), var. of isern, isen akin to Goth eisarn) < Gmc * īsarna, akin to early Celt * isarno, prob. via Illyrian * eisarno- < IE base * eis-, to move vigorously; strong, holy (> IRE): orig. sense prob. “the strong metal,” in contrast to the softer bronze]1. a white, malleable, ductile, metallic chemical element that can be readily magnetized, rusts rapidly in moist or salty air, and is vital to plant and animal life: it is the most common and important of all metals, and its alloys, as steel, are extensively used: symbol, Fe; at. no., 26: see the periodic table of elements in the Reference Supplement2. any tool, implement, device, apparatus, etc. made of iron, asa) a device with a handle and flat, smooth undersurface, used, when heated, for pressing clothes or cloth; flatironb) a rodlike device with a brand at one end, heated for branding cattle: in full branding iron3. [pl.] iron shackles or chains4. firm strength; power5. Slang a pistol6. Golf any of a set of numbered clubs with metal heads having various lofts; specif., the number 2 iron with little loft, used chiefly for relatively long fairway shots; the number 5 iron with medium loft; and the number 9 iron with much loft, used chiefly for short, lofted shots to the green: see GOLF CLUB7. Med. a tonic or other preparation containing ironadj.1. of or consisting of iron2. like iron, asa) firm; unyielding [an iron will]b) capable of great endurance; strong [an iron constitution]3. cruel; mercilessvt.1. to furnish or cover with iron2. to put (a prisoner) in irons3. to press (clothes or cloth) smooth or flat with a hot ironvi.to iron clothes or cloth——————have many irons in the fire or have several irons in the fireto have or be engaged in many (or several, etc.) activities, enterprises, or the like——————in irons1. shackled with irons; imprisoned2. Naut. headed into the wind with no way on: said of a sailing vessel that has failed to come about——————☆ iron outto smooth out; eliminate——————strike while the iron is hotto act at the opportune time
English World dictionary. V. Neufeldt. 2014.