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acid test

An acid test is a crucial or conclusive test of something.

An acid test is so called because the definitive test of whether a substance is gold involves the use of an acid. According to Wikipedia, “The acid test for gold is to rub the gold-colored item on black stone, which will leave an easily visible mark. The mark is tested by applying aqua fortis (nitric acid), which dissolves the mark of any item that is not gold. If the mark remains, it is tested by applying aqua regia (nitric acid and hydrochloric acid). If the mark is removed, then this test dissolved the gold, proving the item to be genuine gold.

Following from that literal definition of acid test, the term is now used figuratively to describe, as I said, any crucial or conclusive test of anything.

I figured that the origin of the term acid test was something like that because I don’t think that people on acid do very well on tests. Although I don’t have any statistics to back that up.

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