- An example of mettle is a soldier's bravery.
- An example of mettle is a person who has spirit and courage.
Mettle is defined as a high quality of personal character.
quality of character or temperament; esp., high quality of character; spirit; courage; ardor
Origin of mettlevariant, variety of metal, used figurative, figuratively
on one's mettle
roused or prepared to do one's best
The ability to meet a challenge or persevere under demanding circumstances; determination or resolve: a race that tested the best runners' mettle.
Origin of mettleVariant of metal Word History: Not only do metal and mettle have exactly the same pronunciation, the two terms are—etymologically, at least—exactly the same word. Middle English borrowed metal from Old French in the 1200s; Old French metal, metail, came from Latin metallum, from Greek metallon, “mine, quarry, ore, metal.” By the 1500s, English metal had also come to mean “the stuff one is made of, one's character,” but there was no difference in spelling between the literal and figurative senses until about 1700, when the spelling mettle, originally just a variant of metal, was fixed for the sense “strength of character.” English has numerous examples of similar word pairs that are (historically speaking) spelling variants of the same word, including flour/flower and lightening/lightning.
Originally a variant of metal.