mettle


Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms, Wikipedia.

met·tle

 (mĕt′l)
n.
The ability to meet a challenge or persevere under demanding circumstances; determination or resolve: a race that tested the best runners' mettle.
Idiom:
on (one's) mettle
Prepared to accept a challenge and do one's best.

[Variant of metal.]
Word History: Not only do metal and mettle have exactly the same pronunciation, the two terms are—etymologically, at least—exactly the same word. Middle English borrowed metal from Old French in the 1200s; Old French metal, metail, came from Latin metallum, from Greek metallon, "mine, quarry, ore, metal." By the 1500s, English metal had also come to mean "the stuff one is made of, one's character," but there was no difference in spelling between the literal and figurative senses until about 1700, when the spelling mettle, originally just a variant of metal, was fixed for the sense "strength of character." English has numerous examples of similar word pairs that are (historically speaking) spelling variants of the same word, including flour/flower and lightening/lightning.

mettle

(ˈmɛtəl)
n
1. courage; spirit
2. inherent character
3. on one's mettle roused to putting forth one's best efforts
[C16: originally variant spelling of metal]

met•tle

(ˈmɛt l)

n.
1. courage and fortitude.
2. disposition or temperament: of fine mettle.
Idioms:
on one's mettle, ready to do one's best.
[1575–85; variant of metal, in metaphoric usages]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.mettle - the courage to carry onmettle - the courage to carry on; "he kept fighting on pure spunk"; "you haven't got the heart for baseball"
braveness, bravery, courage, courageousness - a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear

mettle

noun
1. courage, spirit, resolution, resolve, life, heart, fire, balls (taboo slang), bottle (Brit. slang), nerve, daring, guts (informal), pluck, grit, bravery, fortitude, vigour, boldness, gallantry, ardour, valour, spunk (informal), indomitability, hardihood, gameness It's the first real test of his mettle this season.
2. character, quality, nature, make-up, stamp, temper, kidney, temperament, calibre, disposition He is of a different mettle from the others.

mettle

noun
Translations

mettle

[ˈmetl] Nánimo m, valor m
to be on one's mettleestar dispuesto a demostrar su valía
to put sb on his mettlepicar a algn en el amor propio or en el orgullo
to show one's mettlemostrar lo que uno vale

mettle

[ˈmɛtəl] ncourage m
to be on one's mettle → être prêt(e) à donner le meilleur de soi-même
We have to be on our mettle → Nous devons être prêts à donner le meilleur de nous-mêmes.

mettle

n (= spirit)Courage f, → Stehvermögen nt; (of horse)Zähigkeit f; (= temperament)Feuer nt; a man of mettleein Mann von echtem Schrot und Korn; to show one’s mettlezeigen, was in einem steckt; to test somebody’s mettle, to be a test of somebody’s mettle (thing)zeigen, was in jdm steckt; (person)herausfinden, was in jdm steckt; to be on one’s mettleauf dem Posten sein; to put somebody on his mettlejdn fordern

mettle

[ˈmɛtl] n to be on one's mettleessere pronto/a a dare il meglio di se stesso/a
References in classic literature ?
The cook, placed upon her mettle, served a delicious repast--a luscious tenderloin broiled a point.
Still he must have had fire and mettle in his day, if we may judge from the name he bore of Gunpowder.
In other part stood one who at the Forge Labouring, two massie clods of Iron and Brass Had melted (whether found where casual fire Had wasted woods on Mountain or in Vale, Down to the veins of Earth, thence gliding hot To som Caves mouth, or whether washt by stream From underground) the liquid Ore he dreind Into fit moulds prepar'd; from which he formd First his own Tooles; then, what might else be wrought Fulfil or grav'n in mettle.
And you, good yeomen, Whose limbs were made in England, show us here The mettle of your pasture let us swear That you are worth your breeding.
But tell me, as thou livest, hast thou seen a more valiant knight than I in all the known world; hast thou read in history of any who has or had higher mettle in attack, more spirit in maintaining it, more dexterity in wounding or skill in overthrowing?
My name is John Little, a man of good mettle, Ne'er doubt me for I'll play my part.
George's Hill men, however, were better led or of a better mettle.
You are a fine, smart looking fellow; show your mettle, then, and make yourself a name in story.
To-morrow let him show his mettle, abide my spear if he dare.
You had better mettle as mit ter deyvel, as mit ter hunters, Tey live mit ter gun, and a rifle is better as ter law.
Astor, too, had put them on their mettle with respect to the captain, describing him as a gunpowder fellow who would command his ship in fine style, and, if there was any fighting to do, would "blow all out of the water.
A harsh, thin cackle behind the curtains put the hillman on his mettle for a second shot.