acid test

noun
a severe and conclusive test to establish quality, genuineness, worth, etc.

Origin:
1890–95

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World English Dictionary
acid test
 
n
a rigorous and conclusive test to establish worth or value: the play passed the critic's acid test
 
[C19: from the testing of gold with nitric acid]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

acid test

A decisive trial to determine worth or quality, as in Exposure to brilliant sunlight is the acid test for showing this fabric won't fade. Alluding to a 19th-century chemical test for distinguishing gold from other metals, this term was used figuratively by the early 1900s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The acid test of evolution is the emergence of new species from old.
Only if the supplier clears this acid test, they proceed further.
The groups should have an acid test expert, a streak test expert, and a hardness test expert.
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