To acquire strength of character; to display backbone in the face of adversity.

Empathy has its place, but many times what we think is supportive is really only prolonging the process. It’s only by being in enough pain that people become willing to do what they need to. In other words, these three magic words ("grow a spine") can help push people toward, rather than trying to prevent, their breaking point.
Dope: "Oh poor me. What should I do?"
Badass: "Grow a spine and make the choices that someone with self-respect would make."
by alphahelix May 26, 2013
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To gain confidence and/or courage.

Reference to the word "spineless" meaning unable to stand up for oneself or lacking in courage.
Person 1: Jane is so spineless. She lets the boss walk all over her.

Person 2: Yeah, Jane needs to grow a spine.
by cookiemunstahh September 15, 2009
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To get stingy act cranky or grumpy act like a jerk

get sick of
John Bolton grew a spine at the UN Building.

I grew a spine after the Bush speech. grow a spine
by Ali Bashir January 31, 2006
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