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gut check (plural gut checks)

  1. (idiomatic, sometimes hyphenated (especially when used attributively)) An honest, reflective appraisal of one's true feelings concerning a matter of concern.
    • 1996 June 9, Paul Rodgers, "Two born-again brands: one yells, one whispers," Independent (UK) (retrieved 23 Aug 2015):
      "I told them what we needed was a gut check to see whether we had the stomach to go ahead."
    • 2000 Oct. 7, Nancy Gibbs, "Gore: Where Is The Love?," Time (retrieved 23 Aug 2015):
      There's an old parlor game, a kind of gut check for the heart and head. Would you rather be rich or pretty? Happy or famous? Is it better to be good or to be smart?
    • 2013 Jan. 18, Stephen J. Ciccone, "January’s Stock Temptation," New York Times (retrieved 23 Aug 2015):
      But for investors looking for long-term winners at the start of the year, it’s best to give yourself a gut check before you buy.
    • 2014 Sep. 9, David Ignatius, "Stepping warily onto the battlefield," Washington Post (retrieved 23 Aug 2015):
      For President Obama, this is gut-check time on Iraq. He is moving the nation back onto a pitiless battlefield, with a war plan that is long on good intentions and short on clarity about the ultimate mission.

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