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andiron

[and-ahy-ern] /ˈændˌaɪ ərn/
noun
1.
one of a pair of metal stands, usually of iron or brass, for holding logs in a fireplace.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English aundyr(n)e, Anglo-French aundyre, with the 2nd syllable taken as Middle English ire, iren iron < Old French andier, allegedly < Gaulish *anderos young animal (through known use of animals’ heads as decorations on andirons), though supposed relation between this word and Middle Welsh anneir, Breton annoer heifer, Old Irish ainder young woman, poses serious phonetic problems
Regional variation note
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for andiron
  • And here is this andiron banging out his weird tale of successful warning.
  • There are enough andirons to outfit an andiron museum.
  • Abnormal crude oils and abnormal degummed oils are both high in phosphorus andiron.
  • There is clear evidence that magnesium andiron do not mix in the liquid state at ambient pressure.
British Dictionary definitions for andiron

andiron

/ˈændˌaɪən/
noun
1.
another name for firedog
Word Origin
C14: from Old French andier, of unknown origin; influenced by iron
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for andiron
n.

c.1300, from Old French andier, of unknown origin, perhaps from Gaulish *andero- "a young bull" (cf. Welsh anner "heifer"), which would make sense if they once had bull's heads cast onto them. Altered by influence of Middle English iren (see iron (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for andiron

one of a pair of horizontal iron bars upon which wood is supported in an open fireplace. The oldest of fireplace furnishings, andirons were used widely from the Late Iron Age. The andiron stands on short legs and usually has a vertical guard bar at the front to prevent logs from rolling off, thus giving it a somewhat doglike appearance (hence the alternative name, firedog). It was ordinarily fitted with a guard at each end when intended for use in a central open hearth, which went out of general use in the late 14th century. The guard was often cast in the form of a statue or with elaborate decoration. Plain andirons, called cobirons, with ratcheted guards holding brackets for spits, were used in the kitchen.

Learn more about andiron with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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