American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A test for chemical acidity or basicity using litmus paper.
- n. A test that uses a single indicator to prompt a decision: "The word 'hopefully' has become the litmus test to determine whether one is a language snob or a language slob” ( William Safire).
- n. chemistry A simple test for the acidity or alkalinity of a substance, using litmus paper.
- n. figuratively, by extension Any test which produces a decisive result by measuring a single indicator.
GNU Webster's 1913
- (Chem.) A test to determine acidity or alkalinity, using litmus as an inddicator.
- (Politics) A test for a single factor, which has only two outcomes, positive or negative the question of whether a candidate for office is for or against a particular position on an issue; -- used, e.g. by voters concerned predominantly with a single issue, to decide whether to vote for or against a candidate.
- n. a coloring material (obtained from lichens) that turns red in acid solutions and blue in alkaline solutions; used as a very rough acid-base indicator
- n. a test that relies on a single indicator
- From litmus + test. (Wiktionary)
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