dumb down

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dumb down (third-person singular simple present dumbs down, present participle dumbing down, simple past and past participle dumbed down)

  1. (idiomatic, transitive) To convey some subject matter in simple terms, avoiding technical or academic language, especially in a way that is considered condescending.
    The public won't understand this concept. We need to dumb down our explanation of it.
  2. (idiomatic, intransitive) To become simpler in expression or content; to become unacceptably simplistic.
    Television has really dumbed down over the past ten years.
    • 1995, Sagan, Carl, “Science and Hope”, in The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark[1], First edition, New York: Random House, →ISBN, LCCN 95-34076, OCLC 676826053, pages 25-26:
      The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudo-science and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.
    • 2021 December 29, Paul Stephen, “Rail's accident investigators”, in RAIL, number 947, pages 32-33:
      As the reports are written for both the industry and general public, inspectors are required to use accessible language that is free from jargon but without 'dumbing down'.



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