win (one's) spurs

(redirected from won their spurs)

win (one's) spurs

To prove one's skill in a particular area and earn distinction or a good position as a result. Once you've watched the triplets for an entire day, then you'll have won your spurs as their caretaker, as far as I'm concerned. After getting my bachelor's degree, I won my spurs as a teacher by working short-term contracts in small urban schools for two years.
See also: spur, win

win one's spurs

Gain a position or attain distinction through hard work or some special accomplishment. For example, After two years of freelancing, she won her spurs as a programmer and was hired for the top job . This expression originally alluded to being knighted for some act of bravery and was being used figuratively by the mid-1500s.
See also: spur, win

win (or earn) your spurs

gain your first distinction or honours. informal
In the Middle Ages a knight who had won his spurs had attained knighthood by performing an act of bravery: a pair of gilt spurs were the distinguishing mark of a knight.
See also: spur, win

win/earn your ˈspurs

(formal) become successful or famous: You’ll win your spurs as a teacher if you can control class 5.
See also: earn, spur, win
References in classic literature ?
Such as were only beautiful gave their beauty, whence, without doubt, comes the proverb, "The most beautiful girl in the world can only give what she has." Such as were rich gave in addition a part of their money; and a vast number of heroes of that gallant period may be cited who would neither have won their spurs in the first place, nor their battles afterward, without the purse, more or less furnished, which their mistress fastened to the saddle bow.