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1. Literally, to shave off small pieces of something to make it smaller. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pare" and "down." You need to pare down your nails—they're like little daggers! If you pare the boards down on either side, they should fit into the space.
2. To reduce or decrease something in small increments. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pare" and "down." We've had to continually pare down out expenses ever since one of our investors pulled out. See if you can pare your report down a bit—15 pages is far too long.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
pare something down (to something)
to cut someone down to something or a smaller size. I will have to pare the budget down to the minimum. I hope we can pare down the budget. After much arguing, we pared it down.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To reduce the size of something by cutting or shaving off its outer layers; trim something: I pared down the tiles so that they would fit snugly together. The pegs were too big for the hole, so I pared them down with a pocketknife.
2. To reduce the size or amount of something by gradually taking away parts of it: We should pare down the supplies we keep in our storage room until we have only what we absolutely need. The article was too long, and it took me a long time to pare it down.
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.