Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Origin: metal


met‧tle [uncountable]
1 courage and determination to do something even when it is very difficult
test/show/prove your mettle
a crisis which will test the minister's mettle

on your mettle

British English if you are on your mettle, you are ready to try as hard as possible because your abilities are being tested:
We'll have to be on our mettle from the start.
keep/put somebody on their mettle
This was just his way of keeping me on my mettle.

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