when the chips are down Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “when the chips are down” in the English 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)
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