boil down to, to

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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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
This could thus be a survival of the fittest with the title chase also expected to boil down to putting on the final day with the course's last line of defense tipped to challenge even the steadiest players in the stellar cast.
Gavin has admitted defeat in his battle to boil down to the 60kg lightweight limit and has left the team's holding camp in Macau, where he had been left behind in order to make one final push.
Gavin (pictued left) has admitted defeat in his battle to boil down to the 60kg lightweight limit and has flown home to Birmingham today after leaving the team's holding camp in Macau, where he had been left behind in order to make one final push.
Frankie Gavin insists his struggle to boil down to the 60kg lightweight limit will not affect his chances of adding Olympic gold to the world title he already owns.
Both horses are well suited by today's conditions - 7f on fast ground - and both are ridden from behind, so it's probably going to boil down to whoever has the run of the race.
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.
"The only way to control the increased CO2 is to control our consumption of fossil fuels, and that is going to boil down to individual lifestyle choices." CONTACT: University of Michigan Biological Station, (734)763-4461, www.umich.edu/~umbs.