separate the men from the boys

Distinguish between mature, experienced individuals and novices, as in The picket line will separate the men from the boys in the union. The idiom is used without respect to gender. [c. 1930]


Nearby words

  1. sepaloid,
  2. separable,
  3. separate,
  4. separate but equal,
  5. separate school,
  6. separate the sheep from the goats,
  7. separate wheat from chaff,
  8. separated,
  9. separately,
  10. separates

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