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I encountered the following sentence while reading a book:

We soon discovered that many slips are possible between the cup of a promising idea and the lips of real-life applications, and that only a thorough understanding of these intermediate steps can turn a promising idea into something really useful and practical.

I can figure out the meaning from the context:

There might be many dangers between ideas and applications of the ideas. So the idea alone is not enough.

But I cannot figure out what the 'lips of' means there.

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The quoted phrase is just a modern allusion to the aphorism, “There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip“. The literal meaning is: though You might mean or plan to take a drink from a cup, completing the task without spillage is never certain until after the task is complete. This is synonymous to the idiom, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”

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  • It might be better described as an allusion to the aphorism. – Gary Botnovcan Jul 6 at 3:52
  • @GaryBotnovcan - Sure, why not. – Dean F. Jul 6 at 3:56
  • 'twixt is short for betwixt, an archaic form of between. – Michael Harvey Jul 6 at 7:40
  • Why is it many a slip instead of many slips? – kevin012 Jul 6 at 8:27
  • @kevin012 It's another example of archaic usage. – Kate Bunting Jul 6 at 8:54

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