Is there an idiom in English for cases where something is so watered down (figuratively or literally) to the point there is no substance left, just the "bare" water?

  • 7
    Homeopathed.... – nnnnnn Feb 16 at 6:50
  • People do use "totally" as an intensifier, often in circumstances where totality is out of the question - e.g. I was totally exhausted. Presumably that would mean "dead". – WS2 Feb 16 at 9:33
  • 1
    Watering something down can never, by itself, make it disappear. For nothing but water to be left, some other process would have to be involved, such as distillation. – jsw29 Feb 16 at 15:36
  • 'Hyperattenuated' already has a useful sense. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 16 at 15:44
  • Obligitory Monty Python Not safe for work. – Phil Sweet Feb 17 at 1:07

Something may be faded out, literally or figuratively.

fade out 1. PHRASAL VERB

When something fades out, it slowly becomes less noticeable or less important until it disappears completely. [Collins CoBuild]


fade out ...

to diminish and go away altogether. [McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs]

Macmillan licenses the transitive usage:

fade out [PHRASAL VERB] intransitive/transitive ...

|improve this answer|||||

Actually, "Homeopathed" isn't that far off. In theory a "homeopathic" preparation is one where the original drug/herb/whatever is so diluted that there may not even be a single molecule of the stuff in the resulting preparation. The argument is that the water "remembers" the presence of the stuff, even after it's gone.

|improve this answer|||||
  • But the verb doesn't exist. In almost 71 years in the American Southwest, there's been a drought of 'homeopathed'. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 16 at 16:16

You've so phrased your question that it conveys more than one interpretation. In Chemestry you might be looking for the word "solution" or "dissolved"?

solution a liquid mixture in which the minor component (the solute) is uniformly distributed within the major component (the solvent).

dissolve (with reference to a solid) become or cause to become incorporated into a liquid so as to form a solution.

and, therefore, you often see only the major component.

|improve this answer|||||
  • A solution of something can be highly concentrated; the OP seems to be seeking a term for a very weak solution. – jsw29 Feb 16 at 15:37

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.