rise to the occasion

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rise to the occasion (third-person singular simple present rises to the occasion, present participle rising to the occasion, simple past rose to the occasion, past participle risen to the occasion)

  1. (idiomatic) To show resolve or effectiveness in dealing with a difficulty.
    Synonym: rise to the challenge
    • 1874, Thomas Hardy, chapter 15, in Far from the Madding Crowd:
      Gabriel, though one of the quietest and most gentle men on earth, rose to the occasion, with martial promptness and vigour. "That's my fist. . . . Now — the first man in the parish that I hear prophesying bad of our mistress, why" (here the fist was raised and let fall as Thor might have done with his hammer in assaying it) — "he'll smell and taste that."
    • 1902, Arthur Conan Doyle, chapter 38, in The Great Boer War:
      As it happened, this particular ordeal was exceedingly severe, but nothing can excuse the absolute failure of the troops concerned to rise to the occasion.
    • 2011 January 10, David Von Drehle, “The Real Lesson of the Tucson Tragedy”, in Time, retrieved 9 May 2015:
      How many times have we heard this story? The one about people rising to the occasion, storming the cockpit of the hijacked jet, racing into the burning building, tackling the gunman, saving a life.
  2. (idiomatic, euphemistic, humorous) To achieve erection for sexual intercourse.
    • 2001, John R. Williams, The Life of Goethe: A Critical Biography:
      To his comic fury and shame, the traveller's 'master part' fails to rise to the occasion, and the girl's innocence is preserved.


See also[edit]