- spiritual sanctification as a gift of the Holy Ghost.
- the first time a soldier faces battle.
- any severe ordeal that tests one’s endurance.
- a soldier’s first experience of battle
- any initiating ordeal or experience
- Christianity the penetration of the Holy Ghost into the human spirit to purify, consecrate, and strengthen it, as was believed to have occurred initially at Pentecost
A severe ordeal or test, especially an initial one, as in This audition would be Robert’s baptism of fire. This term transfers the original religious rite of baptism, whereby holiness is imparted, to various kinds of ordeal. At first it signified the death of martyrs at the stake, and in 19th-century France it was used for a soldier’s first experience of combat. Currently it is used more loosely for any difficult first encounter.