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boil (something) down to (something)

To reduce or simplify (something) to the most basic, essential, or fundamental element(s). Your essay is far too long. Please try to cut out any superfluous text and boil it down to about 10 pages. The issue really boils down to whether customers will be willing to pay more for the same product or not.
See also: boil, down

a watched kettle never boils

If you are waiting for something to happen, obsessively checking it does not make it happen faster. A variation on the more common phrase, "a watched pot never boils." Would you stop refreshing the page? The results will be posted soon enough, and a watched kettle never boils!
See also: boil, kettle, never, watch

boil the pot

To make a dinner that involves boiling food. Primarily heard in US. I already boiled the pot, so we can eat shortly. I just need to get all the meat and vegetables onto plates.
See also: boil, pot

a watched pot never boils

When you want something to happen, paying attention to it will make the wait feel much longer. The doctor is never going to call with your test results if you sit by the phone. A watched pot never boils, after all.
See also: boil, never, pot, watch

boil down to something

1. and boil down Lit. [for a liquid] to be condensed to something by boiling. Boil this mixture down to about half of what it was.
2. Fig. [for a complex situation] to be reduced to its essentials. It boils down to the question of who is going to win. It boils down to a very minor matter.
See also: boil, down

boil over

[for a liquid] to overflow while being boiled. (See also boil over (with something).) The sauce boiled over and dripped onto the stove. Don't let the stew boil over!
See also: boil

boil over (with something)

Fig. [for someone] to erupt in great anger. The boss boiled over with anger. Things got out of hand and the crowd's passions boiled over.
See also: boil

boil something away

1. Lit. to boil a liquid until it is gone altogether. She left the kettle on and boiled the water away. Boil away some of that water.
2. Lit. to remove a volatile chemical from a solution by boiling. Boil the alcohol away or the sauce will be ruined. You should boil away some of the liquid.
See also: away, boil

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.
See also: boil, down

boil something out of something

 and boil something out
to remove something from something by boiling. I boiled the wax out of the cloth. You can boil out the stain.
See also: boil, of, out

boil something up

Rur. to cook a batch of food by boiling. She boiled some beans up for dinner. She boiled up some potatoes.
See also: boil, up

boil with something

Fig. to show the heat or intensity of one's anger. You could see that she was just boiling with anger. Tom was boiling with rage when we got there.
See also: boil

bring someone to a boil

Fig. to make someone very angry. This really brought her to a boil. She was fit to be tied. Lily was really brought to a boil by the news.
See also: boil, bring

bring something to a boil

to heat liquid to its boiling point; to make something boil. First, you must bring the soup to a boil.
See also: boil, bring

come to a boil

1. Lit. [for a liquid] to reach the boiling point. The soup came to a boil and the chef reduced the flame.
2. Fig. [for a problem or situation] to reach a critical or crucial stage. (Alludes to water reaching an active boil.) Finally, things really came to a boil. Everything came to a boil after Mary announced her engagement.
3. Fig. [for someone] to get very angry. Fred was coming to a boil and clearly he was going to lose his temper.
See also: boil, come

make someone's blood boil

Fig. to make someone very angry. It just makes my blood boil to think of the amount of food that gets wasted around here. Whenever I think of that dishonest mess, it makes my blood boil.
See also: blood, boil, make

watched pot never boils

Prov. Something you are waiting for will not happen while you are concentrating on it. Don't just sit there staring at the phone while you wait for Lucy to call. A watched pot never boils. I'd better do something besides look out the window waiting for Emily to drive up. A watched pot never boils.
See also: boil, never, pot, watch

boil down something

also 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?
See also: boil, down

boil over

to become uncontrollable Anger boiled over when the police ordered the protesters to leave.
Etymology: based on the idea of liquid in a pan being heated until it boils over the side of the pot
See also: boil

make somebody's blood boil

to make someone very angry When I saw the rude way she talked to him it made my blood boil.
See also: blood, boil, make

can't boil an egg

if someone can't boil an egg, they are not able to cook
Usage notes: This phrase comes from the idea that boiling an egg is a very easy thing to do.
Don't expect a dinner invitation from Laura - she can't boil an egg.
See also: boil, egg

go off the boil

1. (British & Australian) to become less successful After winning their first two matches this season, the French team seem to have gone off the boil.
2. (British) if a situation or feeling goes off the boil, it becomes less urgent or less strong The housing issue has gone off the boil recently, despite attempts to revive public interest. Our affair went off the boil when I discovered he was married.
See also: boil, off

on the boil

if a situation or feeling is on the boil, it is very strong or active The corruption scandal is being kept on the boil by a series of new revelations.
See also: boil, on

A watched pot never boils.

something that you say which means if you wait anxiously for something to happen, it seems to take a very long time There's no point sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring. A watched pot never boils.
See also: boil, never, pot, watch

boil down

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]
See also: boil, down

boil over

Erupt in anger, excitement, or other strong emotion. For example, The mere mention of a tax increase will make Kevin boil over. This phrase alludes to overflowing while boiling. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: boil

make one's blood boil

Enrage one, as in Whenever Jim criticizes his father, it makes my blood boil. Although this term did not appear in print until 1848, the term the blood boils, meaning "one gets angry," dates from the 1600s.
See also: blood, boil, make

watched pot never boils, a

Anxious waiting does not speed up matters, as in Stop running downstairs for every mail delivery-a watched pot never boils, you know. This hyperbolic adage reflects the experience of anyone who has ever been in a hurry to bring water to a boil, which eventually occurs but can seem to take forever. [Mid-1800s]
See also: never, pot, watch

boil down

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.
See also: boil, down

boil over

1. To rise and flow over the sides of a container while boiling. Used of a liquid: I turned up the heat too high and the soup boiled over.
2. To erupt in violent anger: When I realized I had been robbed, I boiled over and started yelling.
See also: boil

boil up

1. To prepare some food by boiling it: I boiled up some lobster for supper. Let's boil the potatoes up and fry them with ham.
2. To grow rapidly and steadily; escalate: Hostilities have been boiling up all over that part of the world.
See also: boil, up

boil the ocean

tv. to waste one’s time attempting to do the impossible. (see also plowing water.) You’re wasting my time. You might as well be boiling the ocean.
See also: boil, ocean
References in periodicals archive ?
Five varieties of vegetables in butter sauce, all in boilable pouches, are being readied by Seabrook Farms, N.
Plus, the bags are microwavable, boilable, washable, reusable and dishwasher safe.
Boilable bags are good for restaurants, compatible with combination ovens and steamers, noted Lima, but packaging in which FF could be baked would be welcome.
5-pound boilable bags, this product is ready to serve in minutes.
of Monterey, CA, the PRONEB(R) ULTRA was designed for use with the PARI LC PLUS(R) and the PARI LC STAR(R) Reusable Nebulizers, which are dishwasher safe, boilable, and autoclavable.
These sturdy bags keep out moisture and odors, and they are microwaveable, boilable, reusable and dishwasher-safe.
The DURA-NEB Portable Compressor System comes with the PARI LC PLUS Reusable Nebulizer, which is dishwasher safe, boilable, and autoclavable.
Pour about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture into a boilable plastic cooking pouch (6 by 8 in.