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[adj. ahy-ern-klad; n. ahy-ern-klad] /adj. ˈaɪ ərnˈklæd; n. ˈaɪ ərnˌklæd/
covered or cased with iron plates, as a ship for naval warfare; armor-plated.
very rigid or exacting; inflexible; unbreakable:
an ironclad contract.
a wooden warship of the middle or late 19th century having iron or steel armor plating.
Origin of ironclad
1850-55; iron + clad1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ironclad
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • However, it is important historically as the first battle of ironclad vessels in the United States.

  • The ironclad seemed to rebound and tremble for a moment, and then passed on.

    The Lively Poll R.M. Ballantyne
  • The Cape itself terminates in a knife-like edge from summit to base, in shape very much resembling the ram-bow of an ironclad.

    The Great Frozen Sea Albert Hastings Markham
  • These officials and other employees must take the "ironclad" oath.

    The Sequel of Appomattox Walter Lynwood Fleming
  • It was Admiral Porter's fleet of ironclad turtles, steamboats, and barges.

British Dictionary definitions for ironclad


adjective (ˌaɪənˈklæd)
covered or protected with iron: an ironclad warship
inflexible; rigid: an ironclad rule
not able to be assailed or contradicted: an ironclad argument
noun (ˈaɪənˌklæd)
a large wooden 19th-century warship with armoured plating
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 ironclad

1852, of warships, American English, from iron (n.) + clad. Of contracts, etc., 1884. As a noun meaning "iron-clad ship," it is attested from 1862.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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