moment of truth

the moment in a bullfight at which the matador is about to make the kill.
the moment at which one's character, courage, skill, etc., is put to an extreme test; critical moment.

1930–35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
moment of truth
1.  a moment when a person or thing is put to the test
2.  the point in a bullfight when the matador is about to kill the bull

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

moment of truth

A critical or decisive time, at which one is put to the ultimate test, as in Now that all the bills are in, we've come to the moment of truthcan we afford to live here or not? This expression, a translation of the Spanish el momento de la verdad, signifies the point in a bullfight when the matador makes the kill. It was first used in English in Ernest Hemingway's story Death in the Afternoon (1932).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
He had been right, in some sense, when he called it a moment of truth.
Now the moment of truth: the dad tries the maneuver himself.
The moment of truth comes when they fail to sustain prosperity.
The moment of truth is almost always what the military does.
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