cast iron
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:

  • Cast iron — 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.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cast-iron — adjective 1. ) made of cast iron 2. ) very definite, and certain to be effective: She claims to have a cast iron alibi. cast iron safety procedures 3. ) very strong, or able to deal with difficult conditions: a cast iron stomach cast iron nerves …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • cast-iron — adj 1.) a cast iron excuse/alibi/guarantee etc an excuse etc that is very certain and cannot fail 2.) made of cast iron ▪ a cast iron frying pan …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • cast-iron — adj 1.) a cast iron excuse/alibi/guarantee etc an excuse etc that is very certain and cannot fail 2.) made of cast iron ▪ a cast iron frying pan …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Cast-iron — Cast i ron, a. Made of cast iron. Hence, Fig.: like cast iron; hardy; unyielding. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cast-iron — cast′ i′ron adj. 1) made of cast iron 2) not subject to change or exception: a cast iron rule[/ex] 3) hardy: a cast iron stomach[/ex] • Etymology: 1655–65 …   From formal English to slang

  • cast iron — ► NOUN 1) a hard alloy of iron and carbon which can be readily cast in a mould. 2) (before another noun ) firm and unchangeable: a cast iron guarantee …   English terms dictionary

  • Cast iron — Cast i ron Highly carbonized iron, the direct product of the blast furnace; used for making castings, and for conversion into wrought iron and steel. It can not be welded or forged, is brittle, and sometimes very hard. Besides carbon, it contains …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cast iron — 1660s, from cast (pp. adj.) made by melting and being left to harden in a mold (1530s), from CAST (Cf. cast) (v.) in sense to throw something in a particular way (c.1300) …   Etymology dictionary

  • cast-iron — [kast′ī′ərn] adj. 1. made of cast iron 2. very hard, rigid, strong, healthy, etc …   English World dictionary

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