Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The ability to meet a challenge or persevere under demanding circumstances; determination or resolve.
  • idiom (on (one's) mettle) Prepared to accept a challenge and do one's best.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as metal.
  • noun Physical or moral constitution; material.
  • noun Natural tempera me ut; specifically, a masculine and ardent temperament; spirit; courage; ardor; enthusiasm.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Substance or quality of temperament; spirit, esp. as regards honor, courage, fortitude, ardor, etc.; disposition; -- usually in a good sense.
  • noun to cause or incite one to use one's best efforts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A quality of endurance and courage.
  • noun Good temperament and character.
  • noun obsolete Metal; a metallic substance.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the courage to carry on

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Variant of metal.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Originally a variant of metal.

Examples

Comments

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  • TIN MAN

    (sings)

    When a man's an empty kettle,

    He should be on his mettle.

    And yet I'm torn apart.

    Just because I'm presumin'

    That I could be kind-a human,

    If I only had a heart.

    June 10, 2010