put backbone into (one)

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put backbone into (one)

To embolden one; to give one courage or determination. All of their encouragement put backbone into me to tell the boss we wanted better working conditions. She was afraid of changing careers, but the thought of staying in this dead end job forever put backbone into Janet.
See also: backbone, put

put backbone into someone

encourage someone to behave resolutely.
As a metaphor for ‘firmness of character’, backbone dates from the mid 19th century.
1998 Spectator There is a widespread belief that if only Mrs Thatcher had still been in No. 10, she would have put backbone into Bush and got rid of Saddam .
See also: backbone, put, someone
References in periodicals archive ?
5-inch blades can chop with the gusto needed for shelter building simply because the blade steel isn't thick enough to give the knife the weight it needs to put backbone into the process.
They sit there relatively quietly, soaking up the unique atmosphere, happy in the company of people who help put backbone into Britain.
Mr Cook's prediction of victory in sight is also seen as an attempt to put backbone into wavering Nato nations.
He has instituted imaginative training sessions, nurtured a feel-good factor for the first time in years and put backbone into Welsh tackling.
And it's like the strong friend who can put backbone into you when things get tough.