have the presence of mind to (do something)

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have the presence of mind to (do something)

To have a sensible, cool-headed mentality that allows one to remain calm and make quick, intelligent decisions. Before fleeing the house, Margaret had the presence of mind to turn off the circuit breaker so that the electrical fire wouldn't spread as quickly.
See also: have, mind, of, presence
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

have the presence of mind to do something

Fig. to have the calmness and ability to act sensibly in an emergency or difficult situation. Jane had the presence of mind to phone the police when the child disappeared. The child had the presence of mind to write down the car's license-plate number.
See also: have, mind, of, presence
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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