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Related to mettles: in earnest, braveness, courageously, the likes of, caught up with

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.
See also: mettle, on

prove your mettle

(slightly formal) also show your mettle
to show that you are brave and have a strong character As a reporter, she certainly proved her mettle working in the midst of a war zone.
See also: mettle, prove

be on your mettle

  (slightly formal)
to be determined to prove that you are good at something, especially in a difficult situation It's a tough interview - you'll have to be on your mettle.
See also: mettle, on

prove/show your mettle

  (slightly formal)
to prove that you are good at doing something by succeeding in a difficult situation A relative newcomer to the game, he's certainly proved his mettle in the last two games.
See also: mettle, prove

on (one's) mettle

Prepared to accept a challenge and do one's best.
See also: mettle, on
References in classic literature ?
George's Hill men, however, were better led or of a better mettle.
You are a fine, smart looking fellow; show your mettle, then, and make yourself a name in story.
To-morrow let him show his mettle, abide my spear if he dare.
You had better mettle as mit ter deyvel, as mit ter hunters, Tey live mit ter gun, and a rifle is better as ter law.
Astor, too, had put them on their mettle with respect to the captain, describing him as a gunpowder fellow who would command his ship in fine style, and, if there was any fighting to do, would "blow all out of the water.
Instead of offending my gentleman I had put him on his mettle, and for half an hour he honored me with the most exhaustive inquisition ever elicited from a medical man.