American English

Definition of iron noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable] (symbol Fe) a chemical element. Iron is a hard strong metal that is used to make steel and is also found in small quantities in blood and food cast/wrought iron iron gates/bars/railings an iron and steel works iron ore (= rock containing iron) patients with an iron deficiency (= not enough iron in their blood) iron pills (= containing iron prepared as a medicine) (figurative) She had a will of iron (= it was very strong).
  2. tool
  3. 2[countable] a tool with a flat metal base that can be heated and used to make clothes smooth a steam iron
  4. 3[countable] (usually in compounds) a tool made of iron or another metal see also branding iron, soldering iron, tire iron
  5. for prisoners
  6. 4irons [plural] chains or other heavy objects made of iron, attached to the arms and legs of prisoners, especially in the past leg irons (old-fashioned) to clap somebody in irons
  7. in golf
  8. 5[countable] one of the set of clubs (= sticks for hitting the ball with) that have a metal head He hit a magnificent shot with a nine iron. compare wood
  9. Idioms
    have several, etc. irons in the fire
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    to be involved in several activities or areas of business at the same time, hoping that at least one will be successful
    pump iron (informal)
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    to do exercises in which you lift heavy weights in order to make your muscles stronger
    strike while the iron is hot (saying)
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    to make use of an opportunity immediately This expression refers to a blacksmith making a shoe for a horse. He has to strike/hammer the iron while it is hot enough to bend into the shape of the shoe.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: iron