Meaning of win (or earn) one's spurs in English:

win (or earn) one's spurs


  • 1historical Gain a knighthood by an act of bravery.

    ‘Aspiring knights will have to earn their spurs.’
    ‘By 1794 the average age of French generals was 33, and most of Napoleon's marshals won their spurs during this period.’
    1. 1.1informal Gain one's first distinction or honours.
      • ‘Mr Scarlett has a strong following inside MI6 where he won his spurs on operations abroad, including as station chief in Moscow in the 1990s.’
      • ‘This was, without question, the Shamrocks clubman's finest display since he first won his spurs with the squad.’
      • ‘You've earned your spurs, you're in the union, you've got your license to practise…’
      • ‘Both bowlers earned their spurs on tours of the Caribbean.’
      • ‘Not that he hadn't already earned his spurs in the business.’
      • ‘James had cut his teeth and earned his spurs and like father, like son, he has not been slow to court the Chinese.’
      • ‘He has earned his spurs after time spent in business and corporate banking at a number of locations.’
      • ‘It was a way to earn their spurs as newscasters; to make household names out of their anchors and reporters; to inform their viewers; to serve the public interest.’
      • ‘Before taking over a year ago as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, he earned his spurs as governor of Utah.’
      • ‘But if you want to be an academic leader, a dean, a president, a provost, it's very important to win your spurs as a respected faculty member.’