Too many irons in the fire
Iron I"ron ([imac]"[u^]rn), n. [OE. iren, AS. [=i]ren, [=i]sen, [=i]sern; akin to D. ijzer, OS. [=i]sarn, OHG. [=i]sarn, [=i]san, G. eisen, Icel. [=i]sarn, j[=a]rn, Sw. & Dan. jern, and perh. to E. ice; cf. Ir. iarann, W. haiarn, Armor. houarn.] [1913 Webster] 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. [1913 Webster]

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 generating furnace). [1913 Webster]

2. An instrument or utensil made of iron; -- chiefly in composition; as, a flatiron, a smoothing iron, etc. [1913 Webster]

My young soldier, put up your iron. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

3. pl. Fetters; chains; handcuffs; manacles. [1913 Webster]

Four of the sufferers were left to rot in irons. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]

4. Strength; power; firmness; inflexibility; as, to rule with a rod of iron. [1913 Webster]

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}. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • too many irons in the fire — This means juggling too many projects at once and something s bound to fail; when a smith had too many irons in his fire, he couldn t effectively keep track of all of them …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • too many irons in the fire — too many things you are trying to do He has too many irons in the fire at the moment and has no time for other things …   Idioms and examples

  • too many irons in the fire — Too many responsibilities, undertakings, etc to cope with at once • • • Main Entry: ↑iron …   Useful english dictionary

  • too many irons in the fire — See: IRONS IN THE FIRE …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • too many irons in the fire — See: IRONS IN THE FIRE …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • too\ many\ irons\ in\ the\ fire — See: irons in the fire …   Словарь американских идиом

  • have too many irons in the fire — See: TOO MANY IRONS IN THE FIRE …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • have too many irons in the fire — See: TOO MANY IRONS IN THE FIRE …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • There's Too Many Irons in the Fire — Infobox Single Name = There s Too Many Irons in the Fire Caption = Artist = Cardiacs from Album = A side = B side = Released = 1987 Format = 12 Recorded = Genre = Pronk Length = Label = Alphabet Business Concern Writer = Producer = Certification …   Wikipedia

  • have\ too\ many\ irons\ in\ the\ fire — See: too many irons in the fire …   Словарь американских идиом

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”