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If I'm dealing with a salt or sugar solution, adding more water to it is called dilution. The same could be said of adding water to a liquid such as milk.

What word would I use if I was dealing with a paste of mud or corn starch? Adding water makes it more runny, less pasty, and dilution seems to be the wrong term to apply in this case.

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to thin

As in the idiom:

thin something down TFD idiom

to dilute a fluid.

And:

cut TFD

  1. tv. to dilute something.
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I think that the word you want, at least if you are talking about cooking, is 'loosen'. Consider this example from a BBC food website: "Start by folding a third of the egg whites into the other mixture (for the cake or mousse etc). This first portion of egg whites should be added to the mix more rigourously. This helps loosen the mixture and makes folding in the remaining egg whites easier."

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    "Thin" is far more idiomatic in the US. – Hot Licks Jul 23 '18 at 21:32
  • @HotLicks It's more ideomatic in the UK as well, in my opinion. It also applies more generally, as in 'thinning cement' or 'thinning mud'. – BoldBen Jul 23 '18 at 21:55

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