the acid test

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.
See also: acid, test

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.
See also: acid, test

the acid test

a 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.
See also: acid, test

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.
See also: acid, test

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
References in periodicals archive ?
HUNTER'S VERDICT This is the acid test for Sunderland's players.
I have no doubt in my mind the acid test is tomorrow.
IF Big Country are about to take the acid test, expect them to be officially verified as pure gold.
According to The Telegraph, India is going to be the acid test.
Next week will be the acid test, we are playing away from home against a good side and it will be a knockout in a lot of ways," Cockerill said.
MAN CITY manager Syen-Goran Eriksson has admitted Sunday's derby clash with United represents the acid test of his side's stunning improvement.
Pam Lee, regional director for Business in the Community, said: "Through sessions such as the Acid Test, companies can learn at first hand how they can reap the wide-ranging benefits of being a responsible employer who understands the needs of the community, be that regionally, nationally or internationally.
The acid test is simply one question: "Absent government interference, would the market support ethanol?
I suppose it will now be the acid test to see how far we have actually come as a team.
The acid test of the A6's dashboard controls, or Multi-Media Interface, was to operate it without having to thumb through the manual.
Nor is he blind to Lee's faults--surely the acid test of a professional historian
ABERDEEN Olympian Steph Forrester knows Sunday's ITU World Cup race will provide the acid test for her comeback.
However, when the group tested dismantled but unshredded CPUs, 9 of 10 failed the acid test.