win one's spurs

Idioms & Phrases

win one's spurs

Gain a position or attain distinction through hard work or some special accomplishment. For example, After two years of freelancing, she won her spurs as a programmer and was hired for the top job. This expression originally alluded to being knighted for some act of bravery and was being used figuratively by the mid-1500s.

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