Denotation vs. Connotation


[stee-lee] /ˈsti li/
adjective, steelier, steeliest.
consisting or made of steel.
resembling or suggesting steel, as in color, strength, or hardness.
Origin of steely
1500-10; steel + -y1
Related forms
steeliness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for steely
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Historical Examples
  • The skies, changing now from a bright to a steely gray, were unmarred by a single wisp of smoke.

    The Candidate Joseph Alexander Altsheler
  • He spoke again, still calm but with a new, steely note in his voice.

    Louisiana Lou William West Winter
  • There was a sudden gleam of steely animation in the Squire's look as he told his story, his eye all the while fixed on Robert.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • He watched her, his body eager, his soul trammelling it with a steely restraint.

    Mistress Wilding Rafael Sabatini
  • White still held Truedale by the cold, steely gleam of his eyes which was driving lucidity home to the dulled brain.

    The Man Thou Gavest Harriet T. Comstock
Word Origin and History for steely

1580s, from steel (n.) + -y (2). Figurative meaning "hard and cold as steel" is from c.1500. Related: Steeliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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