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1. To carefully and cautiously try to gain knowledge of something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "feel" and "out." I'm hesitant to say anything too controversial since I'm still feeling out the environment at my new job.
2. To indirectly try to learn someone's viewpoint or opinion. A noun or pronoun can be used between "feel" and "out." A: "You haven't asked your mom if you can go to the party yet?" B: "I'm still feeling her out. If I ask her too soon, she'll definitely say no!"
3. To use one's hands and feet to carefully move through a dark space. I knocked over the lamp while trying to feel out my way through the room.
feel someone out (about someone or something)
Fig. to find out what someone thinks about someone or something. (This does not involve touching anyone.) I will feel him out about what he thinks about going to Florida. Let me feel out the boss about this matter.
Try cautiously or indirectly to ascertain someone's viewpoint or the nature of something. For example, We'd better feel out the author before we commit him to a publicity tour. This term alludes to physical groping. [Late 1800s] Also see take the pulse of.
1. To examine or investigate the opinion or nature of someone or something: We need to feel out the landlord about lowering the rent. My friends felt me out to see if I wanted to go to the carnival with them.
2. To find a path, especially through physical exploration of one's surroundings: We felt our way out of the dark room. They felt out a path to the edge of the underbrush.