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.

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

medal, meddle, metal, mettle.

1. valor, pluck, vigor, ardor, nerve, fiber. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To mettle
World English Dictionary
mettle (ˈmɛtəl)
1.  courage; spirit
2.  inherent character
3.  on one's mettle roused to putting forth one's best efforts
[C16: originally variant spelling of metal]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1581, variant spelling of metal, both of which were used interchangeably (by Shakespeare and others) in the literal sense and in the figurative sense of "stuff of which a person is made" until the spellings and senses diverged early 18c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
He balances sentimentality with frank delight in testing the reader's mettle.
If you are a research scholar, test your mettle and spot the moniker.
Let's give him a chance to show his mettle.
The film is more than just a look at fanatics testing their mettle.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature