boil down

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See also: boildown

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

As an allusion to the technique of reduction or decreasing liquid content of food by boiling much of its water off.

Verb[edit]

boil down

  1. (transitive and intransitive) Used other than as an idiom: see boil,‎ down.
    He boiled the soup down so it wouldn't be so weak.
  2. (intransitive) To become reduced (to the most central elements or ingredients: to the essence, core, or implication for action).
    So what this boils down to is that you still owe me that fifty bucks.
    • 2013, Daniel Taylor, Andros Townsend calms England's nerves in taming of Montenegro (in The Guardian, 11 October 2013)[1]
      For England, everything now boils down to what happens against Poland on Tuesday.
  3. (transitive) To reduce (to the most central elements or ingredients: to the essence, core, or implication for action).
    My dissertation is 342 pages long, and I'm required to boil it down to a one-page abstract?!

Usage notes[edit]

  • Usually followed by to, as in some of the examples above.
  • What usually get boiled down are problems, arguments, statements, etc.

Synonyms[edit]