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dues-paying

[dooz-pey-ing, dyooz-]
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adjective
  1. gaining experience, especially by hard and often unpleasant or uncongenial work: He spent his dues-paying years as a cocktail pianist.
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noun
  1. the act or process of gaining experience, especially slowly and laboriously: She had many years of dues-paying before her abilities were recognized.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018