The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Iron \I"ron\ ([imac]"[u^]rn), n. [OE. iren, AS. [imac]ren,
[imac]sen, [imac]sern; akin to D. ijzer, OS. [imac]sarn, OHG.
[imac]sarn, [imac]san, G. eisen, Icel. [imac]sarn, j[=a]rn,
Sw. & Dan. jern, and perh. to E. ice; cf. Ir. iarann, W.
haiarn, Armor. houarn.]
1. (Chem.) The most common and most useful metallic element,
being of almost universal occurrence, usually in the form
of an oxide (as hematite, magnetite, etc.), or a hydrous
oxide (as limonite, turgite, etc.). It is reduced on an
enormous scale in three principal forms; viz., cast
iron, steel, and wrought iron. Iron usually appears
dark brown, from oxidation or impurity, but when pure, or
on a fresh surface, is a gray or white metal. It is easily
oxidized (rusted) by moisture, and is attacked by many
corrosive agents. Symbol Fe (Latin Ferrum). Atomic number
26, atomic weight 55.847. Specific gravity, pure iron,
7.86; cast iron, 7.1. In magnetic properties, it is
superior to all other substances.
Note: The value of iron is largely due to the facility with
which it can be worked. Thus, when heated it is
malleable and ductile, and can be easily welded and
forged at a high temperature. As cast iron, it is
easily fusible; as steel, is very tough, and (when
tempered) very hard and elastic. Chemically, iron is
grouped with cobalt and nickel. Steel is a variety of
iron containing more carbon than wrought iron, but less
that cast iron. It is made either from wrought iron, by
roasting in a packing of carbon (cementation) or from
cast iron, by burning off the impurities in a Bessemer
converter (then called Bessemer steel), or directly
from the iron ore (as in the Siemens rotatory and
2. An instrument or utensil made of iron; -- chiefly in
composition; as, a flatiron, a smoothing iron, etc.
My young soldier, put up your iron. --Shak.
3. pl. Fetters; chains; handcuffs; manacles.
Four of the sufferers were left to rot in irons.
4. Strength; power; firmness; inflexibility; as, to rule with
a rod of iron.
5. (Golf) An iron-headed club with a deep face, chiefly used
in making approaches, lifting a ball over hazards, etc.
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]
Bar iron. See Wrought iron (below).
Bog iron, bog ore; limonite. See Bog ore, under Bog.
Cast iron (Metal.), an impure variety of iron, containing
from three to six percent of carbon, part of which is
united with a part of the iron, as a carbide, and the rest
is uncombined, as graphite. It there is little free
carbon, the product is white iron; if much of the carbon
has separated as graphite, it is called gray iron. See
also Cast iron, in the Vocabulary.
Fire irons. See under Fire, n.
Gray irons. See under Fire, n.
Gray iron. See Cast iron (above).
It irons (Naut.), said of a sailing vessel, when, in
tacking, she comes up head to the wind and will not fill
away on either tack.
Magnetic iron. See Magnetite.
Malleable iron (Metal.), iron sufficiently pure or soft to
be capable of extension under the hammer; also, specif., a
kind of iron produced by removing a portion of the carbon
or other impurities from cast iron, rendering it less
brittle, and to some extent malleable.
Meteoric iron (Chem.), iron forming a large, and often the
chief, ingredient of meteorites. It invariably contains a
small amount of nickel and cobalt. Cf. Meteorite.
Pig iron, the form in which cast iron is made at the blast
furnace, being run into molds, called pigs.
Reduced iron. See under Reduced.
Specular iron. See Hematite.
Too many irons in the fire, too many objects or tasks
requiring the attention at once.
White iron. See Cast iron (above).
Wrought iron (Metal.), the purest form of iron commonly
known in the arts, containing only about half of one per
cent of carbon. It is made either directly from the ore,
as in the Catalan forge or bloomery, or by purifying
(puddling) cast iron in a reverberatory furnace or
refinery. It is tough, malleable, and ductile. When formed
into bars, it is called bar iron.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Fire \Fire\ (f[imac]r), n. [OE. fir, fyr, fur AS. f[=y]r; akin
to D. vuur, OS. & OHG. fiur, G. feuer, Icel. f[=y]ri,
f[=u]rr, Gr. py^r, and perh. to L. purus pure, E. pure Cf.
1. The evolution of light and heat in the combustion of
bodies; combustion; state of ignition.
Note: The form of fire exhibited in the combustion of gases
in an ascending stream or current is called flame.
Anciently, fire, air, earth, and water were regarded as
the four elements of which all things are composed.
2. Fuel in a state of combustion, as on a hearth, or in a
stove or a furnace.
3. The burning of a house or town; a conflagration.
4. Anything which destroys or affects like fire.
5. Ardor of passion, whether love or hate; excessive warmth;
consuming violence of temper.
he had fire in his temper. --Atterbury.
6. Liveliness of imagination or fancy; intellectual and moral
enthusiasm; capacity for ardor and zeal.
And bless their critic with a poet's fire. --Pope.
7. Splendor; brilliancy; luster; hence, a star.
Stars, hide your fires. --Shak.
As in a zodiac
representing the heavenly fires. --Milton.
8. Torture by burning; severe trial or affliction.
9. The discharge of firearms; firing; as, the troops were
exposed to a heavy fire.
Blue fire, Red fire, Green fire (Pyrotech.),
compositions of various combustible substances, as
sulphur, niter, lampblack, etc., the flames of which are
colored by various metallic salts, as those of antimony,
strontium, barium, etc.
(a) A signal given on the breaking out of a fire.
(b) An apparatus for giving such an alarm.
Fire annihilator, a machine, device, or preparation to be
kept at hand for extinguishing fire by smothering it with
some incombustible vapor or gas, as carbonic acid.
(a) A balloon raised in the air by the buoyancy of air
heated by a fire placed in the lower part.
(b) A balloon sent up at night with fireworks which ignite
at a regulated height. --Simmonds.
Fire bar, a grate bar.
Fire basket, a portable grate; a cresset. --Knight.
Fire beetle. (Zool.) See in the Vocabulary.
Fire blast, a disease of plants which causes them to appear
as if burnt by fire.
Fire box, the chamber of a furnace, steam boiler, etc., for
Fire brick, a refractory brick, capable of sustaining
intense heat without fusion, usually made of fire clay or
of siliceous material, with some cementing substance, and
used for lining fire boxes, etc.
Fire brigade, an organized body of men for extinguished
Fire bucket. See under Bucket.
Fire bug, an incendiary; one who, from malice or through
mania, persistently sets fire to property; a pyromaniac.
Fire clay. See under Clay.
Fire company, a company of men managing an engine in
Fire cross. See Fiery cross. [Obs.] --Milton.
Fire damp. See under Damp.
Fire dog. See Firedog, in the Vocabulary.
(a) A series of evolutions performed by fireman for
(b) An apparatus for producing fire by friction, by
rapidly twirling a wooden pin in a wooden socket; --
used by the Hindoos during all historic time, and by
many savage peoples.
(a) A juggler who pretends to eat fire.
(b) A quarrelsome person who seeks affrays; a hotspur.
Fire engine, a portable forcing pump, usually on wheels,
for throwing water to extinguish fire.
Fire escape, a contrivance for facilitating escape from
Fire gilding (Fine Arts), a mode of gilding with an amalgam
of gold and quicksilver, the latter metal being driven off
afterward by heat.
Fire gilt (Fine Arts), gold laid on by the process of fire
Fire insurance, the act or system of insuring against fire;
also, a contract by which an insurance company undertakes,
in consideration of the payment of a premium or small
percentage -- usually made periodically -- to indemnify an
owner of property from loss by fire during a specified
Fire irons, utensils for a fireplace or grate, as tongs,
poker, and shovel.
Fire main, a pipe for water, to be used in putting out
(Mil), an artillery officer who formerly supervised the
composition of fireworks.
Fire office, an office at which to effect insurance against
Fire opal, a variety of opal giving firelike reflections.
Fire ordeal, an ancient mode of trial, in which the test
was the ability of the accused to handle or tread upon
red-hot irons. --Abbot.
Fire pan, a pan for holding or conveying fire, especially
the receptacle for the priming of a gun.
Fire plug, a plug or hydrant for drawing water from the
main pipes in a street, building, etc., for extinguishing
Fire policy, the writing or instrument expressing the
contract of insurance against loss by fire.
(a) (Mil.) A small earthen pot filled with combustibles,
formerly used as a missile in war.
(b) The cast iron vessel which holds the fuel or fire in a
(c) A crucible.
(d) A solderer's furnace.
Fire raft, a raft laden with combustibles, used for setting
fire to an enemy's ships.
Fire roll, a peculiar beat of the drum to summon men to
their quarters in case of fire.
Fire setting (Mining), the process of softening or cracking
the working face of a lode, to facilitate excavation, by
exposing it to the action of fire; -- now generally
superseded by the use of explosives. --Raymond.
Fire ship, a vessel filled with combustibles, for setting
fire to an enemy's ships.
Fire shovel, a shovel for taking up coals of fire.
Fire stink, the stench from decomposing iron pyrites,
caused by the formation of hydrogen sulfide. --Raymond.
Fire surface, the surfaces of a steam boiler which are
exposed to the direct heat of the fuel and the products of
combustion; heating surface.
Fire swab, a swab saturated with water, for cooling a gun
in action and clearing away particles of powder, etc.
Fire teaser, in England, the fireman of a steam emgine.
Fire water, a strong alcoholic beverage; -- so called by
the American Indians.
Fire worship, the worship of fire, which prevails chiefly
in Persia, among the followers of Zoroaster, called
Chebers, or Guebers, and among the Parsees of India.
Greek fire. See under Greek.
On fire, burning; hence, ardent; passionate; eager;
Running fire, the rapid discharge of firearms in succession
by a line of troops.
St. Anthony's fire, erysipelas; -- an eruptive fever which
St. Anthony was supposed to cure miraculously. --Hoblyn.
St. Elmo's fire. See under Saint Elmo.
To set on fire, to inflame; to kindle.
To take fire, to begin to burn; to fly into a passion.