baptism

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baptism by fire

1. The first time a soldier enters combat. Taken from a phrase that originates from the Bible, in Matthew 3:11. As they marched onto the battlefield, you could see all of the uniformed boys become men as they experienced baptism by fire.
2. A difficult ordeal that one has to undergo through immersion and without preparation. One week into her new job, Mary felt like she was undergoing a baptism by fire when she was suddenly put in charge of the company's largest account.
See also: baptism, fire

baptism of fire

Fig. a first experience of something, usually something difficult or unpleasant. My son's just had his first visit to the dentist. He stood up to this baptism of fire very well. Mary's had her baptism of fire as a teacher. She was assigned to the worst class in the school.
See also: baptism, fire, of

a baptism by/of fire

a very difficult first experience of something I was given a million-dollar project to manage in my first month. It was a real baptism by fire.
See also: baptism, fire

baptism of fire

A severe ordeal or test, especially an initial one, as in This audition would be Robert's baptism of fire. This term transfers the original religious rite of baptism, whereby holiness is imparted, to various kinds of ordeal. At first it signified the death of martyrs at the stake, and in 19th-century France it was used for a soldier's first experience of combat. Currently it is used more loosely for any difficult first encounter.
See also: baptism, fire, of