boil(redirected from boils)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
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.
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!
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.
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.
[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!
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.
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.
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 something out of somethingand boil something out
to remove something from something by boiling. I boiled the wax out of the cloth. You can boil out the stain.
boil something up
Rur. to cook a batch of food by boiling. She boiled some beans up for dinner. She boiled up some potatoes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
can't boil an egg(humorous)
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.
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.
on the boil(British)
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.
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.
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]
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]
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.