earn spurs

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earn (one's) spurs

To prove one's skill in a particular area. Once you've watched the triplets for an entire day, then you'll have earned your spurs as a caretaker, as far as I'm concerned. After getting my bachelor's degree, I earned my spurs as a teacher by working in underfunded urban schools.
See also: earn, spur

earn one's spurs

Fig. to prove oneself. After that rodeo, all the cowboys agreed that Sally had earned her spurs. He felt that he had earned his spurs when he received his Ph.D.
See also: earn, spur

win/earn your ˈspurs

(formal) become successful or famous: You’ll win your spurs as a teacher if you can control class 5.
See also: earn, spur, win
References in periodicals archive ?
Defoe picked himself and guided the spot-kick past Russell Hoult to earn Spurs a replay.
England international Jermain Defoe's brace was not enough to earn Spurs victory in the 2-2 draw against Coca-Cola League One side Hull.
The French hitman seemed certain to score with his fierce drive but Sullivan dived low to turn the thunderous effort around the post and earn Spurs a clash with deadly rivals Arsenal.
But the fancy Frenchman kept on his feet this time and blasted in a stunning equaliser to earn Spurs an FA Cup replay and make a mockery of his tarnished image.
WALK TALL Crouch and Lennon at the final whistle FAR FROM SPOT ON Defoe's wide with second-half penalty WHITE HART GAIN AND PAIN Skrtel fires home opener but then slotted in at wrong end HOT SPUR Lennon kept his cool to shoot past Reina and earn Spurs a dramatic injury-time win over Liverpool JUMPING FOR JOY Lennon celebrates his late winner with Modric, Crouch and Bale
WOOD GREAT Centre-half Woodgate heads home to earn Spurs a vital victory
But just as it seemed Cudicini's howler would prove crucial, Woodgate headed home in the 86th minute at the KC Stadium to earn Spurs a vital win.
FELLED IN THE BOX: Jermaine Jenas is fouled in the penalty area to earn Spurs the spot-kick that Berbatov easily converted last night
TOTTENHAM'S stars of tomorrow - Calum Davenport and Tom Huddlestone - turned the clock back eight months to earn Spurs their first away win of the season.
JERMAIN DEFOE netted twice to earn Spurs a last-16 League Cup tie at Burnley after a nailbiting victory at The Reebok.