- courage and fortitude: a man of mettle.
- disposition or temperament: a man of fine mettle.
- on one's mettle, in the position of being incited to do one's best: The loss of the first round put him on his mettle to win the match.
Origin of mettle
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for mettle
But will it keep women of talent and substance and mettle and ambition from gunning it forward?What Happens to Women When Female Leaders Like Jill Abramson Get Fired?
May 16, 2014
Perhaps unsurprisingly, his mettle in polar extremes far outstrips his writing ability.Polar Explorer vs. Reality TV Crew: Tim Jarvis in the Footsteps of Shackleton
January 12, 2014
If their corner does not have the lights to see what is in the offing, then the boxer has to have the mettle to say “enough.”Boxers, Be Brave and Quit Before Your Brain Turns to Mush
October 25, 2013
The presidency subjects American incumbents to perennial gut checks, testing their mettle.Obama and Syria: Fighting the Wimp Factor
September 18, 2013
Barack Obama and Joe Biden may now have to prove their mettle as never before.Washington’s Endless Civil War
January 11, 2013
They'll be on their mettle, the both of 'em, more 'specially Diablo.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
The assistant was on his mettle, and either failed or triumphed.Heroes of the Telegraph
This set me on my mettle, and I worked hard and with some success.Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood
Yet you have heart and mettle, I believe, else you would not be here.'Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
We think that it is a mistake to put our artists on their mettle in this way.
- courage; spirit
- inherent character
- on one's mettle roused to putting forth one's best efforts
Word Origin and History for mettle
1580s, variant spelling of metal, both forms used interchangeably (by Shakespeare and others) in the literal sense and in the figurative one of "stuff of which a person is made" (1550s) until the spellings and senses diverged early 18c.