put through one's paces

put (one) through (one's) paces

To make one undergo a thorough testing or examination so as to evaluate one's worth, ability, or competence. We need someone who can begin handling complex projects right away, so we're going to put you through your paces during the assessment period, OK? The coach wanted to put the young boxer through her paces before he agreed to bring her on the Olympic team.
See also: pace, put, through
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

put through one's paces

To be thoroughly tested. The allusion here is to a horse being tried out by a possible buyer. Used literally in the mid-eighteenth century, it was transferred to human beings a century later. B. Taylor had it in Faust (1871): “I see she means to put him through his paces.” See also through the mill.
See also: pace, put, through
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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