Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
boil something down
1. Lit. to condense or thicken something, such as a liquid. I have to boil this gravy down for a while before I can serve it. You boil down the sauce and I'll set the table.
2. Fig. to reduce a problem to its simple essentials. If we could boil this problem down to its essentials, we might be able to solve it. We don't have time to boil down this matter. This is too urgent.
boil down somethingalso boil something down to something
to reduce something to its most basic or important parts I am supposed to boil down this ten-page report to half a page. The whole question boils down to how will we pay for this?
1. Simplify, summarize, or shorten, as in John finally managed to boil his thesis down to 200 pages.
2. boil down to. Be reducible to basic elements, be equivalent to. For example, What this issue boils down to is that the council doesn't want to spend more money. These metaphoric usages allude to reducing and concentrating a substance by boiling off liquid. [Late 1800s]
1. To make an amount of liquid or food less in quantity or more concentrated by boiling it: You can boil down the leftover juices and make a nice sauce. The soup seemed thin, so I boiled it down.
2. To condense something to its bare essentials; summarize: I boiled down my long report into a short two-page report. This plan is too long for me to read; can you boil it down for me?
3. To have something as a basic or root cause: All of the complaints at work boil down to a lack of good leadership.