as in strength
strength of spirit; ability to continue despite difficulties He showed his mettle as a fighter tonight with a heroic comeback.

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How is the word mettle distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of mettle are courage, resolution, spirit, and tenacity. While all these words mean "mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship," mettle suggests an ingrained capacity for meeting strain or difficulty with fortitude and resilience.

a challenge that will test your mettle

When can courage be used instead of mettle?

While the synonyms courage and mettle are close in meaning, courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty.

the courage to support unpopular causes

When could resolution be used to replace mettle?

The words resolution and mettle are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, resolution stresses firm determination to achieve one's ends.

the resolution of pioneer women

When might spirit be a better fit than mettle?

The meanings of spirit and mettle largely overlap; however, spirit also suggests a quality of temperament enabling one to hold one's own or keep up one's morale when opposed or threatened.

her spirit was unbroken by failure

How do tenacity and resolution relate to one another, in the sense of mettle?

Tenacity adds to resolution implications of stubborn persistence and unwillingness to admit defeat.

held to their beliefs with great tenacity

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Cite this Entry

“Mettle.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/mettle. Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

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