acid test

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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