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Stand the test of time

  • Stand the test of time is an idiom that has been in use for several hundred years. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the idiom stand the test of time, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.


     

    To stand the test of time means that something has long-lasting value, that something is perpetually true, that something can withstand the passage of time for many, many years. For instance, the Iliad has stood the test of time because of its universal themes. The Taj Mahal has stood the test of time because of its extreme beauty and sturdy structure. The origin of the expression stand the test of time is uncertain; however, it is known to have come into use around the turn of the nineteenth century. Related phrases are stands the test of time, stood the test of time, standing the test of time. The term is sometimes expressed as withstand the test of time, withstands the test of time, withstood the test of time, withstanding the test of time, though these iterations are much less commonly used.

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    Examples

    “This project brings together the rich history of Fredericksburg and the rich history of our national pastime into one incredible display that will stand the test of time.” (The Augusta Free Press)

    I love the brand’s bags and wallets for the exact same reasons she did: They’re elegant and built to stand the test of time. (USA Today)

    The hybrid drivetrain is based on engineering that’s stood the test of time for two decades. (Business Insider)


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