a litmus test

litmus test

1. A chemical test used to determine acidity or alkalinity in a solution. The students performed a litmus test in class to learn whether the chemical solution was an acid or a base.
2. A test used to determine someone's true intentions or beliefs. I used his reaction to my favorite movie as a litmus test to determine if he was worth dating.
See also: litmus, test

a litmus test

JOURNALISM
COMMON If something is a litmus test of the quality or success of a particular thing, it is an effective way of proving it or measuring it. My personal litmus test when I have to decide whether to keep or discard something is whether or not I look at and enjoy it every day. The success of wind power represents a litmus test for renewable energy. Note: Litmus paper is used to test the acidity of substances. It turns red in acid conditions and blue in alkaline conditions.
See also: litmus, test
References in periodicals archive ?
Summary: TEHRAN (FNA)- One of the senior aides of the Iranian President on Wednesday said that Iran views its talks with the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) as a litmus test of the West's good will and honesty.
Perhaps nothing better exemplified the district than 7 World Trade Center, whose leasing success many considered a litmus test for the long-term prospects of the district and the need for the millions of squaree feet of new office space planned at the WTC site.
Catholic Senators Edward Kennedy, Joe Biden, Patrick Leahy, Richard Durbin, Chris Dodd and half a dozen others attacked the appointment with all their might trying to make the candidate's views on abortion a litmus test for rejection.
Making sex a litmus test of true communion owes more to Freud than to the Bible.
Appeals to voters should not be on the basis of religion, nor should a candidate's religious beliefs be a litmus test for public office.
I believe [the senators] established a litmus test based on a difference of religious perspectives," Wilson said.
Such a litmus test may or may not be wrong, but there is nothing new about politicians opposing judicial nominees because of their positions on issues.
Once he became president, Lincoln went a step further by making support for the law a litmus test for all potential cabinet appointees, Bennett writes.
The residency was a litmus test for measuring student achievement for Scoggins's program, which is the newest in the area
Gore, if you wanted to allow gays to serve openly in the military would you impose a litmus test on your choice for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs?
While denying that he has a litmus test on judges, pro-abortion Vice President and potential Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore made his intentions clear regarding Supreme Court appointments: they will support abortion.
I don't think we'll ever find a litmus test for identifying victims of sexual abuse," contends coinvestigator John Briere of the University of Southern California School of Medicine in Los An les.
His art is a litmus test for the time, a reflection of his insatiable appetite for contemporary art.
This was, in effect, a litmus test for the industry, as it clearly and successfully demonstrated the multitude of equipment, processes, and services that carriers will need in order to build a next-generation service delivery platform, as well as the ability to deploy high-quality services across disparate IP networks and borders.
THIS week will be sort of a litmus test of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to impose mayoral control over the Los Angeles Unified School District.