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A pair of andirons in front of a fireplace


Middle English anderne, aunderne, aundyre, from Old French aundire, aundirne, andire, andirne (compare French landier), possibly from Gaulish anderon (heifer) (compare Welsh anner, annair (heifer), Breton annoar (heifer)), from Proto-Celtic *anderā (young woman), due either to their somewhat animal-like appearance of four legs or to the prominent figuring of bull and heifer design elements; compare its alternative names of fire-dog and dog-iron. Spelling influenced by iron.


andiron (plural andirons)

  1. A utensil for supporting wood when burning in a fireplace, one being placed on each side
    • 1900, Charles W. Chesnutt, chapter 7, in The House Behind the Cedars:
      The furniture was old-fashioned and massive. The great brass andirons on the wide hearth stood like sentinels proclaiming and guarding the dignity of the family. The spreading antlers on the wall testified to a mighty hunter in some past generation.