acid test

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acid test

A conclusive test. The phrase comes from the 19th-century practice of testing metals in nitric acid to determine if they contained gold. Restructuring the organization will be the acid test that determines whether or not it can survive the sudden downturn in the economy.
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acid test

Fig. a test whose findings are beyond doubt or dispute. The senator doesn't look too popular just now, but the acid test will be if he gets reelected.
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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.
See also: acid, test