earn one's stripes

Gain a position through hard work and accumulated experience. For example, She'd earned her stripes by serving for years as the governor's secretary and personal aide. This expression alludes to a military promotion or award, indicated by strips of chevron or braid added to the recipient's uniform and known as stripes since the early 1800s.


Nearby words

  1. earmark,
  2. earmuff,
  3. earmuffs,
  4. earn,
  5. earn one's keep,
  6. earn, loch,
  7. earned income,
  8. earned run,
  9. earned run average,
  10. earned surplus

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