test the water

test the water(s)

To informally or casually attempt to gauge the reaction of a potential audience or recipient of something, or to try to get an idea of what something will be like before actually doing it. Likened to feeling the temperature of water before getting in. I want to test the water before I make the proposal at the general meeting. Do you think you can float the idea to the boss and gauge his reaction? You better test the waters before you fully commit to that plan.
See also: test

test the water

or

test the waters

COMMON
1. If you test the water or test the waters, you try to find out people's opinions about an idea or plan before putting that idea or plan into practice. I was a bit sceptical and decided to test the water before committing the complete management team. It's hard to make a comment until we test the water at the party conference.
2. If you test the water or test the waters, you try something in order to see if you like it or it is suitable. This placement period in a company can provide an excellent opportunity to test the waters without long-term commitment. Test the water. Rent a motor caravan for a few days and see how you like it before buying one of your own.
See also: test, water

test the water

judge people's feelings or opinions before taking further action.
See also: test, water

test the ˈwater/ˈwaters

try to find out whether something is likely to succeed, by asking people for their opinions before you do something: Your idea might not be popular with people, so before you start marketing it you should test the waters.
See also: test, water
References in periodicals archive ?
I've never thought of myself as gay but I'm wondering if I am and if maybe I should test the water in gay bars or clubs.
He said the town would continue to test the water at Killdeer Island until it hears from the club by July 16.
He then calls for a consultation exercise to test the water for EU regionalisation in England.
The class's methods are so sophisticated they've earned a Level A rating from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, meaning they're just as qualified to test the water as professionals.
He also plans to test the water on hard-to-treat products such as oysters.
Test The Water is better drawn in stall 7, and although his last-time- out win in a decent Sandown claimer came on fast ground, he has plenty of good handicap form on soft.
As the residents of the affected area return to their homes to assess the damage left by the recent floods, they should test the water due to widespread contamination of their water supplies by flood waters.
Test the water temperature by moving a hand rapidly through the water.
Test the water in the lower dish-soap cup for soap: Carefully set a paper clip on the surface of the water inside the dish-soap cup.
Officials had successfully delayed its opening this fall by asking the federal agency to grant them an extension so they could test the water.
Using the same sampling methods as human crews, Robowell is stationed at a well cluster, where it can test the water frequently.
mid rising concern about chromium 6 in drinking water, state and local authorities are quickly taking steps to assure residents that their water is safe, including a Burbank effort to test the water in schools and at City Hall.
Install additional groundwater monitoring wells to test the water.