[ met-l ]
/ ˈmɛt l /


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

1575–85; spelling variant of metal, in metaphoric usages

Can be confused

medal meddle metal mettle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mettle

British Dictionary definitions for mettle


/ (ˈmɛtəl) /


courage; spirit
inherent character
on one's mettle roused to putting forth one's best efforts

Word Origin for mettle

C16: originally variant spelling of metal
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