mettle

(redirected from mettles)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.

mettle

inherent quality of character; fortitude; courage
Not to be confused with:
metal – a hard substance such as gold, silver, or copper
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree

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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002

mettle

noun
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005

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.
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

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
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007

mettle

[ˈmɛtl] n to be on one's mettleessere pronto/a a dare il meglio di se stesso/a
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in classic literature ?
The cook, placed upon her mettle, served a delicious repast--a luscious tenderloin broiled a point.
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."