make a man of

make a man (out) of (someone)

To impel a young man to mature into an adult through some kind of experience. I was just a kid when I came out of college, but my first few months at a real job made a man out of me. Here are Academy Prep, we take your son and make a man of him.
See also: make, man, of

make a man of someone

Fig. to make a young male into an adult male. The experience will make a man of Ted. Send Wally into the army. That'll make a man of him.
See also: make, man, of
References in classic literature ?
Especially, you cannot make a man of business out of a genius, any more than money out of a Jew, or the best nutmegs out of pine-knots.