Meaning of “when the chips are down” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"when the chips are down" in British English

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when the chips are down

informal

when you are in a very difficult or dangerous situation, especially one that makes you understand the true value of people or things:

One day when the chips are down, you will know who your true friends are.

(Definition of “when the chips are down” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)