the rubber meets the road

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Alternative forms[edit]


A metaphor derived from the point of contact between automobile tires and pavement.


  • (file)


the rubber meets the road

  1. Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see rubber,‎ meet,‎ road.
    • 1928, How to avoid automobile accidents, page 30:
      Even 500 feet probably wouldn't allow you to brake to a stop, because it's "where the rubber meets the road" that counts.
  2. (idiomatic, with "where" etc.) A place or circumstance at which the implementation of a plan or intent is to be achieved.
    • 1957, Max Shulman, Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!:
      Now we're getting down to where the rubber meets the road.
    • 2002, F. Stevens Redburn with Terry F. Buss, Public policies for distressed communities revisited, page 159:
      It can only be judged "when the rubber meets the road"; when its implementation does or does not produce results.
    • 2007, Dan Miller, 48 Days to the Work You Love, page 85:
      It is in the interview that the rubber meets the road.

Usage notes[edit]

  • almost always used with "that", "when", or "where".