When the Chips are Down Meaning, Examples, Synonyms

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when the chips are down

The meaning of the idiom ‘when the chips are down’ is when you are in a very serious or difficult situation. You can refer to this idiom when things are not good. This idiom expresses a situation which becomes critical or challenging or uncontrollable. During such tough situations people have to show their positive side to tackle the situation and stay determined to resolve or overcome the difficult circumstances. This idiom originated from gambling or poker game in which chips are the currency and when the player faces a critical moment in the game, it refers to the chips being down.

Also read: Miss the Boat Meaning, Examples and Synonyms

Usage with Examples

This idiom can be used in various contexts, it is not only used in gambling as it originated from it, but could also be used to encourage someone. Difficult conditions reveal a lot about the strength and character of a person. How a person tackles a difficult situation conveys his optimism towards any situation.

Given below are some examples of where the idiom “when the chips are down” could be used:

  • The strength of a true leader shines through when the chips are down.
  • When the chips are down she portrayed her giving nature by putting others’ needs over herself. 
  • During the financial crisis in COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses struggled, but online businesses thrive when the chips are down as they adapt to the difficulties.

Also read: Useful idioms with Examples, Sentences and Meaning

Synonyms and Similar Words to When the Chips are Down

Mentioned below are some synonyms and related words for when the chips are down:

  • Decisive
  • Notable
  • Crucial
  • Difficult time
  • Consequential
  • Pivotal  

When the Chips are Down Meaning Quiz

The cricket team is struggling to win the match by 7 runs. What should the team do?

  1. Give up
  2. Keep fighting to win the game
  3. Blame the other teammates

Ans: b. Keep fighting to win the game

This was all about the idiom ‘When the Chips are down’ meaning and examples. Hope you understood the concept where it’s used. For more such blogs, follow Leverage Edu.

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