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nerves of steel
The ability to stay calm at all times, even during pressure-filled situations. Steel is known for being very strong. If you're going to be a neurosurgeon, you need to have nerves of steel—there's no time to panic when you're operating on someone's brain. My mother had nerves of steel, and she never backed down from danger.
have a mind like a steel trap
To be able to understand or grasp information quickly. David has a mind like a steel trap, so if you give him the instructions, he'll follow them perfectly.
have nerves of steel
To have the ability to stay calm at all times, even during pressure-filled situations. If you're going to be a neurosurgeon, you need to have nerves of steel—there's no time to panic when you're operating on someone's brain. My mother had nerves of steel, and she never backed down from danger.
Used to describe something exceptionally tough, resilient, or coldly unyielding. My mother had nerves of steel, and she never backed down from danger. He had a look of steel that would intimidate even the toughest negotiators.
ring of steel
1. A group of armed guards that encircle someone or something as a means of protection or to prevent escape. Police are planning to protect the family with a ring of steel during tomorrows funeral, following death threats made against them.
2. A system of security cameras set up around the perimeter of a city, usually to capture license plate information of cars passing in or out. The city announced it would be investing a quarter of a million taxpayer dollars into a new ring of steel, meant to cut accidents, catch speeders, and alert police to the location of suspects.
steel (one's) heart against (someone or something)
To stop or keep oneself from feeling kindness and compassion towards someone or something. I worry that all the trauma she's already been through at such a young age will steel her heart against other people.
steel (someone or oneself) against (someone or something)
To cause someone or oneself to be mentally and emotionally prepared, obdurate, and unyielding in the face of some difficult or unpleasant person, task, situation, outcome, etc. The future may look grim, but we must steel ourselves against the challenges ahead. Our people have long been steeled against would be tyrants like you! I know I'm tough on you, but I'm trying to steel you against life's many difficulties and disappointments.
steel (someone or oneself) for (something)
To cause someone or oneself to be mentally and emotionally prepared for and hardened against some difficult or unpleasant task, situation, outcome, etc. As horrible as the prospect may be, we all must steel ourselves for war. I know I'm tough on you, but I'm trying to steel you for the challenges you'll face later in life.
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?
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.
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.
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.
*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.
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.
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.
nerves of steel
If someone has nerves of steel, they do not get nervous or frightened even in very difficult or dangerous situations. You need nerves of steel in this business and I've got them. You need nerves of steel to be a formula one driver.