put (one) on (one's) mettle

(redirected from put them on their mettle)

put (one) on (one's) mettle

To put someone in a situation in which they must prove their worth, skill, or ability. Being promoted to general manager at such a young age is certainly going to put her on her mettle. Our goal is to put each of these athletes on their mettle and earn their spot on the team.
See also: mettle, on, put

put someone on their mettle

(of a demanding situation) test someone's ability to face difficulties in a spirited and resilient way.
Originally the same word as metal , mettle was no more than a variant spelling that gradually became particularly associated with figurative uses of the word, meaning ‘quality of temperament’, and from that ‘natural spirit’ or ‘courage’. These senses eventually developed so far from the literal senses that it was no longer apparent that they were originally the same word. The distinctive spellings metal and mettle to distinguish the two were in use by the early 18th century, though not necessarily universally applied until the following century.
See also: mettle, on, put, someone

put somebody on their ˈmettle

make somebody do the best work they can, or perform as well as they can: The school inspection is going to put the teachers on their mettle.
See also: mettle, on, put, somebody