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
References in periodicals archive ?
"These are the nights that sort the men from the boys - on a cold night in Hull."
If my day out was anything to go by, it really will sort the men from the boys.
Steve Palmer Jason Day to record the lowest aggregate Major score 25-1 Coral In the world of golf the Majors sort the men from the boys and only a select few are capable of handling the typically brutal courses and the extra injection of pressure.
We are talking about a tough exercise regime that has been used to sort the men from the boys. But women are taking it on and are more than proving themselves.
Meanwhile, on the Scoop6 front the Ladbrokes Portland Handicap will sort the men from the boys this weekend with 22 runners declared overnight for the big sprint.
There can't be many other venues in English football that sort the men from the boys like Goodison Park - you can often spot champions in the making by the way they react to the fevered atmosphere the place generates, and City looked anything but.
"We believe that there has not been enough of a sector shakeout to sort the men from the boys and sector consolidation is inevitable.
It is not April at the Ricoh and 2-0 up at halftime and everyone wants to play, it is these games when you sort the men from the boys."
'The 16th and the 17th will sort the men from the boys,' said Lees.
Sir Alex Ferguson said before the Man United game that the match would sort the men from the boys.
SOUNESS is just the man to sort the men from the boys. Look out Dyer and co!
Thierry Doumen on First Gold set out to sort the men from the boys in the early stages as he cut out a gallop which seemed to go faster as the race went on.
He glided past David Batty, a player with the experience and the wherewith-all to sort the men from the boys, before being sent tumbling by a Jonathan Woodgate block tackle on the half-hour.
'The last three holes are killers,' he smiled, 'they sort the men from the boys.'
It's the other games that cause problems and that's where you sort the men from the boys.