Usage of "make one's bones"


I’ve just run into this sentence:

He made his bones in Vegas.

Are you familiar with this expression (e.g. is it well known to one and all in your neck of the woods)?
Does it mean “to earn a reputation”?


It’s an expression allegedly used by the Mafia. It means to have killed someone and therefore qualified to be a “Made Man.”

Not being big in Mafioso circles, I didn’t know it. I had to Google it.

Is it Godfather, Tort?

Teachers, what are other words that mean the same but in normal not mafioso language. Something like well-trained, well-prepared, etc. I thought about this phrase too when I was reading G.F.

Thanks a lot!

@ Bagheera301: Nope, it is CSI which I am a big fan of. They probably “lent” the phrase from G.F.

Which expression are you asking about, Bagee.
‘made his bones’ means ‘first killed someone’ so I presume you don’t mean that.

Nope, I didn’t mean that Bev, and I didn’t know that .
We have in our language more general word and I though I could find out the English one. I mean the word (an adjective) or phrase that would denote a state when a person has a lot of experience and that’s why is not afraid of the difficulties.

Hi Bagheera,

Do you mean, like a ‘‘know-it-all’’ ? (…just kidding)
Probably, highly-skilled, highly-qualified, highly-competent are more like what you are looking for.

‘Experienced’ might well be enough on its own!
Skilled, proficient and seasoned could also be used.

As far as idiomatic expressions go, we might say someone is an ‘old hand’ at something.

Thank you everyone, especially Beverley!!!