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touchstone (noun) stone that tests the quality of gold; anything used as a test.

Touchstone is the stone used for testing the quality or the fineness of gold. Touchstone is also a test or standard of someoneís merit, intentions, etc. Adversity is the touchstone of character. This means that difficulties through which a man passes are the real test of character. That is, a manís character is revealed in times of difficulty. An exam can be treated as a touchstone of the merit of a person.

  • A few scratches on the touchstone with the ring, and the goldsmith was able to find out that the gold of the ring was not pure. The rubbing of the gold on the stone revealed the quality of gold.
  • Whether he will stand by his word even when it costs him his life is a touchstone of his reliability. The threat of death is the touchstone of his honesty. If he continues to be honest even if it means death, he is really honest.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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