trial by fire


A test of one's abilities to perform well under pressure, as in Finishing this buge list of chores in time for the wedding is really a trial by fire. This expression alludes to the medieval practice of determining a person's guilt by having them undergo an ordeal, such as walking barefoot through a fire.

QUIZZES

DON’T VACILLATE! VANQUISH THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!

It’d be a real faux pas to miss this quiz on the words from August 3–9, 2020!
Question 1 of 7
What does “vacillate” mean?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.