Prove Your Mettle

Also: Show Your Mettle

Meaning of Idiom ‘Prove Your (or one’s)  Mettle’

To prove your mettle means to prove your ability at something by performing well in a difficult situation. 1Heacock, Paul.  Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. 

Examples of Use

“Gentlemen, we face tough opponents,” said the coach. “It’s time to prove your mettle.”

“The young warrior was determined to prove his mettle on the battlefield.”

“Nobody held out much hope for him but he quickly proved his mettle.”

“If you don’t show your mettle now, you may not get another chance,” said the recruiter.

Origin

Used since at least the early 1600s, as in John Fletcher’s Monsieur Thomas from 1619:

“When did he ride abroad since he came over? What Tavern has he us’d to? What things done That shews a man, and mettle?”

For more, see the origin of  be on your mettle.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Heacock, Paul.  Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.