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test the waters

Meaning: If you test the waters, you try something first before deciding whether to get involved in it.

For example:

  • You should go to a couple of classes to test the waters before you decide whether to take the course.

  • Bob is very cautious about committing to anything, and always tests the waters before making a decision.

Quick Quiz:

Someone who tests the waters before deciding to do something is being
  1. careful
  2. careless
  3. carefree

Discuss: test the waters

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