boil down to, to

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 down to, to

To simplify or abridge; to lead to the crux of the matter. This figure of speech transfers the sense of a liquid being reduced and concentrated by the process of boiling to other processes or endeavors. It dates from the late nineteenth century.
See also: boil, down