American Idioms – Idiom Wizard Lists Over 5,500 Idioms & Slang Descriptions

Rubber meets the road

DEFINITION

A real-world test of success. When or where events start to occur.  The test of a plan. ‘Rubber’ illustrates a moving vehicle grabbing the pavement as it speeds away, so the phrase urges the results of real rather than conceptual implementation.  In other words, you can invent something, but until you actually build it and get it working, you don’t know if it works as planned.

“The college board said they knew I could teach young children, but they didn’t  know if I could just as well teach college level, that’s when the rubber meets the road.”

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