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litmus test

Chemistry. the use of litmus paper or solution to test the acidity or alkalinity of a solution.
a crucial and revealing test in which there is one decisive factor.
Origin of litmus test
1955-60; so called from chemical tests in which litmus or litmus paper is an indicator Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for litmus test
  • Her problem seems to be that she has violated the university's litmus test for what it means to be open-minded.
  • The questions were a litmus test to ask a candidate.
  • Having a humor-group or a beer-group is relatively simple, since there is no ideological litmus test for enjoying comedy or beer.
  • The arguments put forward so far seem to use the litmus test of what happened, as opposed to what is needed.
  • The litmus test is whether you can spot them in advance.
  • Both had yet to master the triple axel jump, a litmus test for senior skaters, in their first year at the top level.
  • The litmus test for policy modifications is their effect in correcting the problem that prompted the modification.
  • In a way it's as much a litmus test of human nature as it is a reference tool.
British Dictionary definitions for litmus test

litmus test

a test to establish the acidity or alkalinity of a mixture
a critical indication of future success or failure
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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litmus test in Medicine

litmus test n.
A test for chemical acidity or basicity using litmus paper.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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