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baptism of fire

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noun
  1. spiritual sanctification as a gift of the Holy Ghost.
  2. the first time a soldier faces battle.
  3. any severe ordeal that tests one's endurance.
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Origin of baptism of fire

First recorded in 1815–25
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for baptism of fire

baptism of fire

noun
  1. a soldier's first experience of battle
  2. any initiating ordeal or experience
  3. Christianity the penetration of the Holy Ghost into the human spirit to purify, consecrate, and strengthen it, as was believed to have occurred initially at Pentecost
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with baptism of fire

baptism of fire

A severe ordeal or test, especially an initial one, as in This audition would be Robert's baptism of fire. This term transfers the original religious rite of baptism, whereby holiness is imparted, to various kinds of ordeal. At first it signified the death of martyrs at the stake, and in 19th-century France it was used for a soldier's first experience of combat. Currently it is used more loosely for any difficult first encounter.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.