boil down to something

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boil (something) down to (something)

To reduce or simplify something to the most basic, essential, or fundamental element(s). Don't overcomplicate your goals and strategies. Boil them down do the essentials—what you want, and how to get them. Make sure you boil your proposal down to the most basic details of what you want to do. Don't start adding superfluous info, or the boss will lose interest.
See also: boil, down
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

boil down to something

COMMON If you say that a situation or problem boils down to something, you mean that this is the most important aspect of it. What they want boils down to just one thing. It is land. His advice boiled down to remembering to `dress casually and stay alert'.
See also: boil, down, something
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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References in periodicals archive ?
However, it may boil down to something much more basic.
It can boil down to something parents have been telling their children for ages: Use your words, not your fists.
Such matters can boil down to something as simple as insufficient recognition of a job well done, or even the sense of a lack of control.
At the end of the day, the arguments all seem to boil down to something similar: If it were more like me, the Republican Party would be better off.
Can it really boil down to something as basic as hope?
Throughout his career, Chief Justice Wells keeps finding one legal truth: "The longer I'm here, the more I understand that [legal problems] all boil down to something, that's not a very complicated proposition, but you've got to figure out how to make it not complicated...
He claimed it may even boil down to something as trivial as an awkward glance or be based on who arrives last for breakfast.
But if we had only one shot, it might boil down to something as banal as be kind to one another.