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English Education Live.com

Today’s Idiom Mini Lesson: The smell test

Noun

Alternatively: to pass the smell test

Verb

Meaning: a method that determines legitimacy, credibility, moral or ethical acceptability, authenticity, or trustworthiness, by using logic, intuition, facts, or common sense

Please note: this idiom is usually used in the negative.

Examples:

His constant excuses don’t pass the smell test. I wonder what’s really going on with him. He’s hiding something.

The earnings posted by that investment vehicle don’t pass the smell test. 20% every year, even during market downturns? Come on!

That politician’s claims don’t pass the smell test. He’ll promise anything to get elected, then conveniently forget it all.

Let’s put the president’s assertions to the smell test. Everything he said is easily verifiable.

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