The idiom ‘water down' means ‘to reduce the effectiveness of something'. The video explains the meaning of the idiom ‘water down' in English. We explain how to use it with some easy examples for Social and Business English.
Similar to the literal meaning, when something is watered down it’s diluted which makes it weaker. For the idiomatic meaning, it is used the same way, but in terms of conversation, so if someone waters bad news down, that’s because the news might be very hard to hear, so to take the sting out of the bad news, it’s watered down. In a bar, sometimes drinks can get watered down so that the patrons don’t get very drunk, or because the bartender doesn’t want to give the correct measures in order to make higher profits from their alcohol.
Look, I won’t water this down - I don’t want to go out with you because I’m attracted to your friend.
The message was watered down because they knew the audience wouldn’t take kindly to it.