put (one) through (one's) paces

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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 someone through his or her paces

Test thoroughly to see what someone can do, as in We put the new programmer though her paces, and she passed with flying colors. The idiom can refer to things as well, as in When we put the electrical system through its paces, we blew a fuse. The expression alludes to testing a horse's ability in the various paces (trot, canter, and gallop). Its use referring to horses dates from the late 1700s; its figurative use was first recorded in 1871.
See also: pace, put, someone, through
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

put someone/something through their paces

COMMON If you put someone or something through their paces, you make them show you how well they can do something. The British coach, Ian Irwin, is putting the boxers through their paces. Dozens of tanks are being put through their paces to check that they're running correctly. Note: You can also say that someone or something goes through their paces if they show what they can do. After watching the machine go through its paces, he asked if it could be adapted to cook other foods. Note: To put a horse through its paces means to test it to see how well it has been trained.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

put someone or something through their paces

make someone or something demonstrate their qualities or abilities.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

put somebody/something through their/its ˈpaces

test somebody’s/something’s ability to do something by making them/it show how well they/it can actually perform certain actions, tasks, etc: We watched the trainer putting the police dog through its paces.They’re putting the new machinery through its paces.
These expressions refer to judging the performance of a horse before deciding to buy it.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

put (someone) through (someone's) paces

To cause to demonstrate ability or skill; test: The drama coach put her students through their paces before the first performance.
See also: pace, put, through
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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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