sort out the men from the boys

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separate the men from the boys

To distinguish or separate the experienced, competent, or strong participants from those who are not. We've had some easy games so far in the season, but this next one is going to separate the men from the boys. This is a business that separates the men from the boys—don't get involved unless you have what it takes.
See also: boy, men, separate

sort out the men from the boys

To distinguish or separate the experienced, competent, or strong participants from those who are not. We've had some easy games so far in the season, but this next one is going to sort out the men from the boys. This is a business that sorts out the men from the boys—don't get involved unless you have what it takes.
See also: boy, men, out, sort

separate the men from the boys

 and separate the sheep from the goats
Fig. to separate the competent from those who are less competent. (Not necessarily just about males.) This is the kind of task that separates the men from the boys. Working in a challenging place like this really separates the sheep from the goats.
See also: boy, men, separate

separate the men from the boys

Distinguish between mature, experienced individuals and novices, as in The picket line will separate the men from the boys in the union. The idiom is used without respect to gender. [c. 1930]
See also: boy, men, separate

sort out the men from the boys

or

separate the men from the boys

If a difficult situation or competition sorts out the men from the boys or separates the men from the boys, it tests people and shows who is strong and capable and who is not. This is the game that will sort out the men from the boys. It is absolutely vital to win the replay and get to the final.
See also: boy, men, out, sort

separate (or sort out) the men from the boys

show or prove which people in a group are truly competent, brave, or mature.
1968 House & Garden The Dry Martini…is a drink that will quickly separate the men from the boys and the girls from their principles.
See also: boy, men, separate

sort out/separate the ˌmen from the ˈboys

show or prove who is brave, skilful, etc. and who is not: OK everybody, today we’re going to do a physical fitness test, which will soon sort out the men from the boys!
See also: boy, men, out, separate, sort