Definition of mettle in English:


Line breaks: met¦tle
Pronunciation: /ˈmɛt(ə)l


[mass noun]


be on one's mettle

Be ready or forced to do one’s best in a demanding situation: Saturday’s game will be a tricky one and we’ll have to be on our mettle from the start
More example sentences
  • York were on their mettle from the off and led 22-13 at the five ends stage with two rinks winning and two rinks drawing.
  • As someone who has hitherto needed to reject one thing before moving on to another, Juliet is on her mettle, and she knows it.
  • After the first-half performance it is not a bad point because no matter who you are playing against you have got to be on your mettle for 90 minutes.

put someone on their mettle

(Of a demanding situation) test someone’s ability to face difficulties: there were regular public meetings where local MPs were put on their mettle and remorselessly pilloried
More example sentences
  • This way of thinking was made explicit only when critics such as Vincenzo Borghini were put on their mettle to defend the Baptistery's antiquity.
  • Coventry's opening was brisk and sufficiently to the point to put Tottenham on their mettle.


mid 16th century: specialized spelling (used for figurative senses) of metal.

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