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be on (one's) mettle
To be determined to succeed and thus prove one's worth, often in a difficult or unpleasant situation. I know my employees think I'm too young to be their supervisor, so I have to be on my mettle every day at the office.
prove (one's) mettle
To prove that one has endurance and strength of character, or the necessary skills, abilities, or traits to succeed in something. You may be the youngest lawyer in the firm, but you certainly proved your mettle in that high-profile murder case. The new CEO proved her mettle by completely restructuring the dying mobile phone division into the powerhouse it is today.
show (one's) mettle
To show that one has endurance and strength of character, or the necessary skills, abilities, or traits to succeed in something. You may be the youngest lawyer in the firm, but you certainly showed your mettle in that high-profile murder case. The new CEO showed her mettle when she completely restructured the dying mobile phone division into the powerhouse it is today.
put (one) on (one's) mettle
To put someone in a situation in which they must prove their worth, skill, or ability. Being promoted to general manager at such a young age is certainly going to put her on her mettle. Our goal is to put each of these athletes on their mettle and earn their spot on the team.
be on your mettlebe ready or forced to prove your ability to cope well with a demanding situation.
put someone on their mettle(of a demanding situation) test someone's ability to face difficulties in a spirited and resilient way.
Originally the same word as metal , mettle was no more than a variant spelling that gradually became particularly associated with figurative uses of the word, meaning ‘quality of temperament’, and from that ‘natural spirit’ or ‘courage’. These senses eventually developed so far from the literal senses that it was no longer apparent that they were originally the same word. The distinctive spellings metal and mettle to distinguish the two were in use by the early 18th century, though not necessarily universally applied until the following century.
be on, show, prove, etc. your ˈmettlebe prepared to do the best work you can or perform as well as you can in a particular situation: When the boss comes round, I want you all to show your mettle. ♢ He’ll have to be on his mettle if he wants to win the next race.
Mettle is the ability and determination to do something successfully in spite of difficult conditions.
See also: mettle
put somebody on their ˈmettlemake somebody do the best work they can, or perform as well as they can: The school inspection is going to put the teachers on their mettle.
on (one's) mettle
Prepared to accept a challenge and do one's best.