: a test in which a single factor (such as an attitude, event, or fact) is decisive
Did You Know?
It was in the 14th century that scientists discovered that litmus, a mixture of colored organic compounds obtained from lichen, turns red in acid solutions and blue in alkaline solutions and, thus, can be used as an acid-base indicator. Six centuries later, people began using litmus test figuratively. It can now refer to any single factor that establishes the true character of something or causes it to be assigned to one category or another. Often it refers to something (such as an opinion about a political or moral issue) that can be used to make a judgment about whether someone or something is acceptable or not.
For Curtis, the litmus test of good barbeque ribs is whether or not they have that moist fall-off-the-bone quality.
"But, then, this can of corn: How did it even get here? Nothing against canned corn, but it's not something we use. It definitely did not 'spark joy,' per [Marie] Kondo's keep-it-or-toss-it litmus test." — Bethany Jean Clement, The Providence Journal, 6 Feb. 2019
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
What is the meaning of test bed?VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP