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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.
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 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.
See also: have, nerve, of, steel

of steel

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.
See also: of, steel

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.
See also: of, ring, steel

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.
See also: heart, steel

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.
See also: steel

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.
See also: steel

have a mind as sharp as a steel trap

To be able to understand or grasp information quickly. David has a mind as sharp as a steel trap, so if you give him the instructions, he'll follow them perfectly.
See also: have, mind, sharp, steel, trap

(as) sharp as a steel trap

Able to understand or grasp information quickly. David's as sharp as a steel trap, so if you give him the instructions, he'll follow them perfectly.
See also: sharp, 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
References in classic literature ?
But no sooner had the last word been sung than the holy man seized his steel cap, clapped it on his head, and springing to his feet, cried in a great voice, "What spy have we here?
I wonder, my Lord Guido, if my sword Is better tempered than this steel of yours?
To-night will settle the great issue Whether the Prince's or the merchant's steel Is better tempered.
[Simone disarms Guido] My gentle Lord, you see that I was right My sword is better tempered, finer steel, But let us match our daggers.
I went in and saw the surgeon labor awhile, but could not enjoy; it was much less trying to see the wounds given and received than to see them mended; the stir and turmoil, and the music of the steel, were wanting here--one's nerves were wrung by this grisly spectacle, whilst the duel's compensating pleasurable thrill was lacking.
But Umslopogaas held up the great Groan- Maker, the iron chieftainess, and examined its curved points of blue steel, the gouge that stands behind it, and the beauty of its haft, bound about with wire of brass, and ending in a knob like the knob of a stick, as a lover looks upon the beauty of his bride.
Now he reached the gate of the kraal, now there was rush, a light of downward falling steel, and something swept past him.
"Yonder Woodpecker has a bill of steel, and he can use it well," said the councillor to him who stood by him.
Dinesh Kumar Lekhi, entitled 'Special Steels Through Induction Melting Furnaces: Vision 2020,' cited the economic benefits of IFST such as lower manufacturing cost of steel and lower electric consumption.
Amreli Steels (Pvt) Ltd is one of the largest manufacturers of steel reinforcement bars in Pakistan.
ISO 683-1:2016 Heat-treatable steels, alloy steels and free-cutting steels -- Part 1: Non-alloy steels for quenching and tempering.
During the recent meeting of the International Nickel Study Group (INSG), Lisbon, Portugal, global representatives noted that after the middle of 2005, the production of stainless steels with high nickel content declined in most parts of the world, reducing the consumption of primary nickel and nickel-bearing scrap in the second half of that year.
Thailand is the largest steel market among ASEAN member countries, with good prospects for future growth chiefly in high value added steels for automotive, home-appliance, OA and other such uses.
Although plastic had previously had advantages as regards to both weight and formability for fuel tanks, Potter says that advanced high-strength steels are competitive on both counts.
Conventional toolmaking is limited by two factors: One is the modest thermal conductivity of standard tool steels like H-13, P-20, or stainless, which are chosen for hardness and/or corrosion resistance.