boil down


verb (adverb)

to reduce or be reduced in quantity and usually altered in consistency by boilingto boil a liquid down to a thick glue
boil down to
  1. (intr) to be the essential element in something
  2. (tr) to summarize; reduce to essentials

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Idioms and Phrases with boil down

boil down

1

Simplify, summarize, or shorten, as in John finally managed to boil his thesis down to 200 pages.

2

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]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.