baptism of fire

baptism of fire

noun
1.
spiritual sanctification as a gift of the Holy Ghost.
2.
the first time a soldier faces battle.
3.
any severe ordeal that tests one's endurance.

Origin:
1815–25

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
baptism of fire
 
n
1.  a soldier's first experience of battle
2.  any initiating ordeal or experience
3.  Christianity the penetration of the Holy Ghost into the human spirit to purify, consecrate, and strengthen it, as was believed to have occurred initially at Pentecost

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

baptism of fire

A severe ordeal or test, especially an initial one, as in This audition would be Robert's baptism of fire. This term transfers the original religious rite of baptism, whereby holiness is imparted, to various kinds of ordeal. At first it signified the death of martyrs at the stake, and in 19th-century France it was used for a soldier's first experience of combat. Currently it is used more loosely for any difficult first encounter.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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