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nerves of steel

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.
See also: nerve, of, steel

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.
See also: have, like, mind, steel, trap

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

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

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.
See also: nerve, of, steel

have nerves of steel

not be easily upset or frightened.
See also: have, nerve, of, steel

ring of steel

an encircling armed barrier preventing escape or restricting access.
See also: of, ring, steel

have nerves of ˈsteel

not be easily frightened in a difficult or dangerous situation: She won’t be nervous about doing it. She’s got nerves of steel.
See also: have, nerve, of, steel

of ˈsteel

having a quality like steel, especially a strong, cold or hard quality: She felt a hand of steel (= a strong, firm hand) on her arm.There was a hint of steel in his voice (= he sounded cold and firm).
See also: of, steel