Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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STEEL, n.1 Sc. usages:

1. As in Eng. Dim. steelie, a boy's marble made of steel, gen. a ball-bearing put to this purpose. Gen.Sc. Combs.: (1) steelie-flint [ < steel-and-flint], a form of hide-and-seek played on dark nights in which the pursued struck a flint with a steel to emit sparks and indicate their approximate whereabouts (Fif. 1900); ¶(2) steelrife, hard, relentless, inflexible. See -Rife; (3) the Steelmen, a sporting journalists' nickname for Motherwell Football Club, Motherwell being the centre of the steel industry in Scotland (Sc. 1964 J. T. R. Ritchie Singing Street 120). Mry. 1957 People's Jnl. (6 July):
If you get me his autograph I'll gie you six ‘steelies'!
Abd. 1958 Press and Jnl. (22 Sept.):
Monkey-chippers and glessers and, aristocrat of them all, steelies.
(2) Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck x.:
The rackle hand o' steelrife power.

2. A needle. Only dial. in Eng. Edb. 1839 W. McDowall Poems 87:
'Twere better she had steek'd her gab Wi' steel an' thread.

3. A steel-yard, weighing bar (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.; Per., Kcb. 1971). Also in Nhb. dial.

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"Steel n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 May 2021 <>



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