strike while the iron is hot

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Striking red-hot iron

strike while the iron is hot (third-person singular simple present strikes while the iron is hot, present participle striking while the iron is hot, simple past and past participle struck while the iron is hot)

  1. (metallurgy, blacksmithing, literally) To strike a hot piece of metal, especially iron, with a mallet or other tool before it cools, while it is still hot enough to be shaped.
  2. (idiomatic) To act on an opportunity promptly while favorable conditions exist; to avoid waiting.
    We should strike while the iron is hot and order some immediately, before they change the offer.

Usage notes[edit]

  • When expressed in the imperative mood, this term is a well-known saying or proverb:
    Strike while the iron is hot!



See also[edit]


  • Gregory Y. Titelman, Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings, 1996, →ISBN, p. 309.