dumb (something) down(redirected from dumb something down)
dumb (something) down
To make something less complicated to accommodate a less intelligent, educated, or sophisticated audience. The professor decided to dumb down the course material a bit after most of his class failed the first exam. I think we ought to dumb the play down a bit; after all, most of the people coming to see it won't have a PhD in drama.
1. To cause something to be less complex, nuanced, or intellectually challenging, typically in order to make the content more appealing or accessible to a wider audience. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dumb" and "down." The first film was a real exploration of the human psyche, but they dumbed down the second film into a generic horror film. I think there are ways we can make the story resonate with the audience without dumbing it down.
2. To change a fictional character, as in a TV show or film series, to be or seem less intelligent than depicted previously. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dumb" and "down." They dumbed his character down in later seasons, turning him into a total goofball for cheap laughs.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
To simplify something excessively in order to make it suitable for a less educated or less sophisticated audience: The researchers dumbed down the report before releasing it to the public.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.