1. try something to determine whether it can be successful or you/others like it before committing to it
test the waters by doing an internship/trial run
To 'test the waters' means to gauge people's feelings or thoughts before taking further action, asking them to do something or committing to something. When you 'test the waters' you might be trying to find out if something is likely to be successful before taking action. This is an idiomatic expression used in social and professional contexts.