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inherent quality of character; fortitude; courage
Not to be confused with:
metal – a hard substance such as gold, silver, or copper
The ability to meet a challenge or persevere under demanding circumstances; determination or resolve: a race that tested the best runners' mettle.
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.
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]
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]
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|Noun||1.||mettle - the courage to carry on; "he kept fighting on pure spunk"; "you haven't got the heart for baseball"|
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.
The quality of mind enabling one to face danger or hardship resolutely:
braveness, bravery, courage, courageousness, dauntlessness, doughtiness, fearlessness, fortitude, gallantry, gameness, heart, intrepidity, intrepidness, nerve, pluck, pluckiness, spirit, stoutheartedness, undauntedness, valiance, valiancy, valiantness, valor.
n (= spirit) → Courage f, → Stehvermögen nt; (of horse) → Zähigkeit f; (= temperament) → Feuer nt; a man of mettle → ein Mann von echtem Schrot und Korn; to show one’s mettle → zeigen, 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 mettle → auf dem Posten sein; to put somebody on his mettle → jdn fordern