when the chips are down

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - when the chips are down

"when the chips are down"

at a critical or difficult time when you are in a difficult or dangerous situation


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - when the chips are down

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  The manager has been doing very well since he started but everything has been running smoothly. This is the first time that he has had to handle a competitor's attack as well as production problems. It is fast becoming a desperate situation.

Colleague 2:  Now that we are facing a crisis, let's see how he reacts.

Colleague 1:  I agree. A person's true character is always revealed when the chips are down.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - when the chips are down

A couple are talking ...

Wife:  What are we going to do? You are out of work. I am out of work. The bills are piling up and we just got a foreclosure notice from the bank. This is a disaster.

Husband:  We are going to remain calm. Sometimes, when the chips are down, unexpected opportunity comes along but in order to take advantage of opportunity, we must keep our heads.

when the chips are down - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   438   click for frequency by country

when the chips are down - Gerund Form:

There is no gerund form for when the chips are down.

when the chips are down - Examples:

1)  ... like to see a little bit of skill and flair, but when the chips are down, blood and guts are needed.

2)  We've established a reputation earned in blood of being there when the chips are down, and being tough and determined, and getting the job done.

3)  ... and when the chips are down feels he has to go with the mob rather than stand by those ...

4)  ... decided to sign the striker because of his experience which could prove crucial when the chips are down especially in ...

5)  But in the Championship you need people to stand up when the chips are down and we did that in the second half.

6)  Get back to the same working people who surround you when the chips are down. They are thirsting for solutions to everyday challenges.

7)  When the chips are down and we need tough men and women in uniform to sort out trouble.

8)  ... dazzle with magnificent flowing football when everything is in their favour, but when the chips are down and tough questions are asked, they crumble.

9)  Anyone can sell on a good market, but when the chips are down and you do not have programmes, you get stuck.

10)  ... ability to help an offence get a spark or glimmer of hope even when the chips are down.

11)  ... should realized that trying to lobby the government will not save the organization when the chips are down.

12)  ... life gives you lemons, it is expected you make lemonade and when the chips are down, its means there is no way to go but up.

13)  ... he doesn't hit runs when the chips are down, only when conditions are good and gun barrel straight.

14)  The challenge always comes when the chips are down.

15)  So when the chips are down for one of our own we rally round in the best possible way.

16)  ... also concede that when the chips are down, the struggle feels more personal because the battle is mostly internal.

17)  ... a true champion, the ability to pick oneself up and battle back when the chips are down, to hold one's nerve right until the end, ...

18)  ... have experienced players who know the significance of fighting with determination, especially when the chips are down.

19)  We are in the fight business and when the chips are down you fight harder.

20)  Things happen and when the chips are down it is about how you respond. I survived a near-death experience ...