smell test

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smell test

A hypothetical pass/fail "test" that gauges the moral acceptability or trustworthiness of someone or something. The new pro-drilling bill that's being put through Congress doesn't pass the smell test, and many are suspicious that Big Oil has been responsible for its inception.
See also: smell, test
References in periodicals archive ?
The Poo-uli had again flunked a smell test, suggesting it's a bird of a different sort.