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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.