Word of the Day : March 27, 2019

litmus test

noun LIT-mus-TEST


: 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

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