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A conclusive or critical test, as used to determine the worth, quality, or effectiveness of someone or something. 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. The first game of the season will be an acid test of the team's head new coach. The acid test for the new manager will come in the form of healthcare open enrollment. We really need it to go smoothly this year.
slang An intense hallucinatory experience as a result of ingesting lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), commonly known as "acid." I had a really bad acid trip once. I thought I was being chased by man-eating monkeys through a forest made of chocolate! The film's visuals call to mind a prolonged acid trip, a twisted version of reality where strange things are possible. Do you need to be on an acid trip to understand this book? What does it all mean?
be an/the acid test
To serve as a critical conclusive test of the worth, quality, or effectiveness of someone or something. 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. The first game of the season will be an acid test of the team's head new coach.
be on acid
To be under the influence of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), a powerful psychedelic drug commonly known as "acid." A lot of my friends like being on acid, but it just makes me feel really tense and paranoid.
come the acid
To be unpleasant or offensive, usually due to speaking in a caustic or sarcastic manner. Often followed by "with (someone)." Don't come the acid with me, son, or I'll knock you upside the head. I try to avoid her whenever I can, for she's far too quick to come the acid.
slang To ingest the psychedelic drug lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD, or "acid"). I had a real bad trip last night. I'll never drop acid again. A lot of my friends like dropping acid, but it just makes me feel really tense and paranoid.
Under the influence of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), a powerful psychedelic drug commonly known as "acid." The man was reportedly on acid when claimed he could fly and tried to jump off the building.
put the acid on (someone)
To beg, importune, or proposition (someone) for something, such as a money loan, a favor (sexual or otherwise), or information. Primarily heard in Australia, New Zealand. My no-account brother-in-law is always putting the acid on for a money loan—which, I'll add, he has never once paid back. It's like he's surprised when women in a random bar don't all come up putting the acid on him.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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 © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
the acid test
COMMON If you call something the acid test, it will prove how effective or useful something is. The acid test for the vaccine will be its performance in the south where the disease is more widespread. So far, I don't feel too bad but I'm waiting for my first really stressful day when things go wrong. That will be the real acid test. Note: Nitric acid can be used to test whether a metal is pure gold because it damages most metals but does not affect gold.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
the acid testa situation or event which finally proves whether something is good or bad, true or false, etc.
The original use of the phrase was to describe a method of testing for gold with nitric acid (gold being resistant to the effects of nitric acid).
1990 Which? These deals are designed to encourage impulse buying, so the acid test is whether you would have bought anyway.
come the acidbe unpleasant or offensive; speak in a caustic or sarcastic manner.
put the acid on someonetry to extract a loan or favour from someone. Australian & New Zealand informal
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
the ˌacid ˈtest (of something)(also the ˈlitmus test especially in American English ) a situation which finally proves whether something is good or bad, true or false, etc: They’ve always been good friends, but the acid test will come when they have to share a flat.Both these expressions originally referred to chemical tests. The acid test uses nitric acid to test if something is made of gold. The litmus test uses litmus paper to test for acids and alkalis.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
n. lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). (Drugs.) Freddy got hold of some bad acid and freaked out.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
acid test, the
A conclusive trial to establish the truth or worth of something or someone. The term comes from a test long used to distinguish gold from copper or some other metal. Most corrosive acids do not affect gold, but a solution of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid dissolves the metal. Used literally by jewelers in the late nineteenth century, the term soon was employed figuratively, by U.S. president Woodrow Wilson among others.
See also: acid
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer