Acid test

Acid test

Meaning
  • a foolproof test for assessing the value of something

Origin

A sure way to find out whether a metal was pure gold was to test it with aquafortis, or nitric acid. Most metals are corroded away by nitric acid but gold remains unaffected. Although the original acid test has been known for centuries, the phrase in its figurative use is only a hundred years old. If something survives the acid test it has been proved true beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Example Sentences

The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will. WOODROW WILSON, Address, January 8, 1918.

Usage: Bordering on a cliche

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