steel

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have a mind as sharp as a steel trap

Fig. to be very intelligent. She's a smart kid. Has a mind as sharp as a steel trap. They say the professor has a mind as sharp as a steel trap, but then why can't he figure out which bus to take in the morning?
See also: have, mind, sharp, steel, trap

nerves of steel

Fig. very steady nerves; great patience and courage. I was scared to death, but Fred, who has nerves of steel, faced the thugs bravely.
See also: nerve, of, steel

steel oneself for someone or something

to prepare oneself for someone or something difficult or unpleasant; to get ready to face someone or something. Aunt Helen is coming for a visit. We should steel ourselves for her. I think something is going wrong. We had better steel ourselves for a shock.
See also: steel

steel someone against someone or something

to fortify someone against someone or something; to prepare someone to endure someone or something. I tried to steel Liz against Carl, who was bringing her some very bad news. We steeled her against the bad news.
See also: steel

*true as steel

very loyal and dependable. (*Also: as ~.) Through all my troubles, my husband has been as true as steel. Pedro was a staunch friend, true as steel.
See also: steel, true

have a mind like a steel trap

to be able to think very quickly, clearly and intelligently She'll be a brilliant lawyer - she has a mind like a steel trap.
See also: have, like, mind, steel, trap

nerves of steel

if someone has nerves of steel, they are very brave You'd have to have nerves of steel to play in front of a crowd this size.
See live on nerves
See also: nerve, of, steel

mind like a steel trap, have a

Be very quick to understand something, as in Aunt Ida may be old, but she still has a mind like a steel trap. This simile likens the snapping shut of an animal trap to a quick mental grasp.
See also: have, like, mind, steel

steel one's heart against

Also, harden one's heart. Suppress one's feelings for, as in He finally steeled his heart against them and refused the loan, or You'll just have to harden your heart and tell them the truth. This metaphoric idiom transfers making something hard to rendering oneself insensible or unfeeling. Versions of it date from the late 1500s. Also see heart of stone.
See also: heart, steel