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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Defoe picked himself and guided the spot-kick past Russell Hoult to earn Spurs a replay.
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
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.
WOOD GREAT Centre-half Woodgate heads home to earn Spurs a vital victory
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.
Tottenham are set to be unchanged, with Sergei Rebrov likely to be back on the bench.Tomorrow: Kick-off 2.00pmVerdict: Hoddle's organisation will earn Spurs a point at tired Leeds
The little Ukrainian netted twice to earn Spurs a thrilling quarter-final victory and cause a smile of satisfaction to cross the face of manager George Graham, who can now look forward to the clash against his old club on April 8.
If he loses his struggle with Walker there will be no shortage of takers - especially at a much reduced price which will still earn Spurs a healthy profit.