Definition of test the water in English:

test the water


  • Judge people's feelings or opinions before taking further action.

    • ‘A multinational company and a landowner have been testing the water on plans to bring a £100 million development to the area.’
    • ‘Olsen, the German fashion house, has just opened its first shop in Glasgow after testing the water with its own concession in a department store.’
    • ‘We have a few thoughts about where he could be moved to but the proceedings are at a very early stage and we are effectively testing the water.’
    • ‘Where better to test the water than Hawick, traditionally a hotbed of rugby and perhaps the Scottish town most associated with the sport?’
    • ‘Susie Rae, of Ski Scotland, said: ‘We have limited the tickets because we are just testing the water to see if there is a demand out there.’’
    • ‘Everton boss David Moyes is also an admirer of the 27-year-old and may test the water with a bid this summer as he looks to increase the size of his squad.’
    • ‘As it happens, the French government will test the water, making our government's decision on when to jump that much easier.’
    • ‘It was basically a trial product that Nokia, the world's No.1 cell phone maker, was using to test the water.’
    • ‘Dubliner Ronnie Carroll tested the water in the city last year and feels the initiative will pay off handsomely for the Irish game.’
    • ‘A spokesman from the trust said: ‘The advert has been placed to test the water and we will monitor any interest.’’