Idiom:  test the water(s)

Image of woman dipping her toes into a pool: Before we hire an instructor, let's test the waters and offer an aqua aerobics and aqua Zumba class and see how many seniors sign up.


Idiom:  test the water(s)

  • to try something to see if you like it or it is suitable
  • to find out people's opinions or how they will react

Example sentences

— Now that our son's a teenager, he sometimes tests the water with us before sharing his ideas with his friends.

— I'd test the waters with a fundraiser first before launching your political campaign.

— I’m testing the waters to see if having a photo on my CV makes any difference.

— Before you quit your job and start a consulting business I recommend you test the waters with one or two clients.

— We're testing the water to see what our parishioners think about having online church services.

—  We should have tested the water before offering staff the possibility of working from home. It's going to be difficult to change the policy back now.

— My children are testing the waters by disobeying us regarding using their phones at night.

— Well, it's natural for children to begin testing the waters when they are teenagers.

— Whenever you launch a brand new product, you have to test the waters in a variety of ways before moving to full production.

— Well, we tested the waters and the new fragrance was widely disapproved.


  • take a crack at something
  • try something out
  • feel out
  • put out a feeler

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