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rise to the occasion

Show unexpected skill in dealing with a difficulty that arises, as in The leading man broke his leg in the first act but his understudy rose to the occasion and was rewarded with excellent reviews. [ Mid-1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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