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

win (or earn) one's spurs


  • 1Gain a knighthood by an act of bravery.

    • ‘By 1794 the average age of French generals was 33, and most of Napoleon's marshals won their spurs during this period.’
    • ‘Aspiring knights will have to earn their spurs.’
    1. 1.1informal Gain one's first distinction or honours.
      • ‘James had cut his teeth and earned his spurs and like father, like son, he has not been slow to court the Chinese.’
      • ‘Before taking over a year ago as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, he earned his spurs as governor of Utah.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You've earned your spurs, you're in the union, you've got your license to practise…’
      • ‘This was, without question, the Shamrocks clubman's finest display since he first won his spurs with the squad.’
      • ‘Not that he hadn't already earned his spurs in the business.’
      • ‘He has earned his spurs after time spent in business and corporate banking at a number of locations.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Both bowlers earned their spurs on tours of the Caribbean.’