phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Acid test

Posted by Q on September 17, 2001

In Reply to: Acid test posted by ESC on September 16, 2001

: : The origin is close but not exact. A specific combination of acids call aqua regia is used to test for gold. It is the only combination which will react to gold. It is made up of hydrochloric and nitric acids.

: How about this...
: ACID TEST - "meaning a sternly critical examination, one designed to reveal even the slightest flaw, comes from the use of nitric acid to test gold. Inferior metals may be decomposed by the acid - but not gold." Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).

I'm back and safe. My office is only 5 blocks from the devastation. It's eerie down here today. I witnessed the planes and the collapse from the street running toward my office. Fortunately our staff and facility was not harmed.
Anyway, I've also heard of a hybrid version "Give it the Litmus Test". As in Litmus paper testing. (Blue litmus paper turns red in the presence of an acid. Red litmus paper turns blue in the presence of a base). In business, the phrase applies to a black or white result (eg: a doll marketed by hype. People will either buy it and fall for the fad or not. The company doesn't expect a gray area of sales).---lots of colors in this explanation.
Here's another --"Sink or swim".

See also - the meaning and origin of 'Acid Test'.