giggle test

giggle test
(GIG.ul test)
n.
A symbolic test used to determine whether something is legitimate or serious.
Example Citation:
Another lawyer, who handles a high volume of welfare cases, put it this way: "there used to be a 'giggle test' — the court could be counted on to reject arguments made by government lawyers that were laughable — but now members of the panel will pick up on those arguments."
— Daniel Wise, "First Department's Image Shifts," New York Law Journal, April 24, 2001
Earliest Citation:
They are trying to convince U.S. agricultural officials that their products are perishable, which would allow their workers to meet more lenient rules to become legal immigrants. "We have scientific evidence on our side," says Richard Douglas, vice president of the Sun Diamond Growers of California, a walnut-growers cooperative. "But walnuts can't pass the giggle test. When you talk about perishable commodities and mention walnuts, people start giggling."
— "Perishable Designation Coveted by Farmers," Journal of Commerce, March 31, 1987
Notes:
This phrase has a much more common variant: the laugh test. This dates to at least 1983 and, judging by the media citations generated by both phrases, is about 10 times more popular. So why not post laugh test, instead? I guess there's just something irresistible about the word giggle. (Here's a word request: What do you call a word that makes you do what the word itself means? Giggle, which, for me, is giggle-inducing, is an example. Reader jMorgan suggests performative, a term linguists use to refer to speech that constitutes some kind of act.) Almost as popular is the similar phrase straight-face test, which goes back to about 1987.
Other synonymous sightings that only make rare appearances are chuckle test and guffaw test.
Related Words: Category:

New words. 2013.

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