Etymology
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iron curtain (n.)

1794, the name of a fire-protection device to be used in theaters, a literal iron curtain; see iron (n.) + curtain (n.).

The new and exquisitely beautiful theatre of Drury-lane has the peculiar contrivance of an iron-curtain to secure the audience from all danger, in case of fire on the stage. Miss Farren, in the occasional epilogue, delivered on opening this new theatre, pleasantly informs the spectators that, should flames burst out in the part appropriated to the representation, they may comfort themselves with thinking that nothing can be burnt but the scenery and the actors. [The Monthly Review, June 1794]

From 1819 in the figurative sense "impenetrable barrier." In reference to the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe, famously coined by Winston Churchill March 5, 1946, in speech at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, but it had been used earlier in this context (for example by U.S. bureaucrat Allen W. Dulles at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dec. 3, 1945). The phrase had been used in the sense of "barrier at the edge of the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union" from 1920. During World War II, Goebbels used it in German (ein eiserner Vorhang) in the same sense. But its popular use in the U.S. dates from Churchill's speech.

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cross-section (n.)

"section of something made by a plane passing through it at a right angle to one of its axes," 1748, originally in engineering sketches, from cross (adj.) + section (n.). Figurative sense of "representative sample" is by 1903.

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cross-reference (n.)

also crossreference, "a reference in a book to another part of it," 1834, from cross- + reference (n.). As a verb, "refer to by cross-reference," attested by 1851. Related: Cross-referenced; cross-referencing.

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cross-patch (n.)

also crosspatch, "peevish person," usually female, c. 1700, from cross (adj.) "ill-tempered" + patch (n.2) "professional jester," or possibly from or reinforced by patch (n.1) "piece."

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iron-bound (adj.)
late 14c., from iron (n.) + bound (adj.1). Figurative use from 1807.
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iron-on (adj.)
1959, from the verbal phrase, from iron (v.) + on (adv.).
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cast-iron (n.)

1660s, cast iron, from iron (n.) + cast (adj.) "made by melting and being left to harden in a mold" (1530s), past-participle adjective from cast (v.) in its sense "to throw something (in a particular way)," c. 1300, especially "form metal into a shape by pouring it molten" (1510s). From 1690s as an adjective, "made of cast-iron;" figurative sense of "inflexible, unyielding" is from 1830.

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iron-gray (adj.)
Middle English, from Old English isengræg; see iron (n.) + gray (adj.). The color of freshly broken cast iron.
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flat-iron (n.)
"iron for smoothing," 1810, from flat (adj.) + iron (n.). Applied to triangular or wedge-shaped buildings from 1862.
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christ-cross (n.)

"mark of the cross," cut, printed, or stamped on anything, early 15c; see Christ + cross (n.), and compare crisscross.

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