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

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 of 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 of fire when she was suddenly put in charge of the company's largest account.
See also: baptism, fire, of

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

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

a baptism of fire

COMMON If your first experience of a new situation is a baptism of fire, it is very difficult or unpleasant. They have given themselves a baptism of fire by playing the four best teams in the world. Having never managed a team before, I was suddenly managing thirty people. It was a baptism of fire. Note: This expression originally referred to the deaths of martyrs (= people who die because of their beliefs) by burning. It was later used by the French Emperors Napoleon Bonaparte and Napoleon III to refer to someone's first experience of battle.
See also: baptism, fire, of

a baptism of fire

a difficult introduction to a new job or activity.
A baptism of fire was originally a soldier's initiation into battle.
1998 Times Opposition spokesmen do not normally face a baptism of fire, but the Bank of England's unexpected decision…provided the Shadow Chancellor with an opportunity to make an early mark.
See also: baptism, fire, of

a ˌbaptism of ˈfire

an unpleasant or a frightening first experience of something: Her first day in the job was a real baptism of fire because she had to deal with a very difficult case immediately.
See also: baptism, fire, of