verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
- to reduce the quantity of by boiling off liquid.
- to shorten; abridge.
- to be simplifiable or summarizable as; lead to the conclusion that; point: It all boils down to a clear case of murder.
- to overflow while boiling or as if while boiling; burst forth; erupt.
- to be unable to repress anger, excitement, etc.: Any mention of the incident makes her boil over.
- to degum (silk).
- to remove (sizing, wax, impurities, or the like) from a fabric by subjecting it to a hot scouring solution.
Origin of boil1
Synonyms for boil
Related Words for boil downabridge, compress, trim, cut, abbreviate, minimize, lessen, reduce, slash, curtail, shrink, facilitate, clarify, shorten, streamline, rehash, outline, compile, epitomize, recap
- (intr)to be the essential element in something
- (tr)to summarize; reduce to essentials
Word Origin for boil
Word Origin for boil
early 13c., from Old French bolir "boil, bubble up, ferment, gush" (12c., Modern French bouillir), from Latin bullire "to bubble, seethe," from PIE base *beu- "to swell" (see bull (n.2)). The native word is seethe. Figurative sense of "to agitate the feelings" is from 1640s.
I am impatient, and my blood boyls high. [Thomas Otway, "Alcibiades," 1675]
Related: Boiled; boiling. Boiling point is recorded from 1773.
"hard tumor," altered from Middle English bile (Kentish bele), perhaps by association with the verb; from Old English byl, byle "boil, carbuncle," from West Germanic *buljon- "swelling" (cf. Old Frisian bele, Old High German bulia, German Beule). Perhaps ultimately from PIE root *bhel- (2) "to swell" (see bole), or from *beu- "to grow, swell" (see bull (n.2); also cf. boast). Cf. Old Irish bolach "pustule," Gothic ufbauljan "to puff up," Icelandic beyla "hump."
Simplify, summarize, or shorten, as in John finally managed to boil his thesis down to 200 pages.
boil down to. Be reducible to basic elements, be equivalent to. For example, What this issue boils down to is that the council doesn't want to spend more money. These metaphoric usages allude to reducing and concentrating a substance by boiling off liquid. [Late 1800s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with boil
- boil down
- boiling point
- boil over
- make one's blood boil
- watched pot never boils