to feel out

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - feel out

"to feel out"

to try cautiously or indirectly to discover a person's viewpoint or the nature of something


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - feel out

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  See if you can find out from the boss who is going to get the promotion.

Colleague 2:  Do you mean just ask her outright?

Colleague 1:  No. She won't tell you. You need to feel her out by asking indirect questions and making allusions to other employees.

Colleague 2:  So, ask her what he thinks of Dean's new project or Kim's behavior at the last office party?

Colleague 1:  Exactly. And then you can get an idea of which way she is leaning on the promotion.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - feel out

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Do you think the hourly employees are going to go on strike?

Colleague 2:  Ask the union leader.

Colleague 1:  She will never give us a direct answer. We are going to have to feel out the situation.

Colleague 2:  OK. I'll take a walk around the production floor and see if I can gauge the worker's mood.

Colleague 1:  And maybe stop off in the break room and see if you can hear anything that might give a clue.

to feel out - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   1,471   click for frequency by country

to feel out - Gerund Form:

Feeling out the competition before making any major decisions is prudent.

to feel out - Examples:

1)  ... there's a wealth of insight about how your audience listens to help you "feel out the room" more effectively than ever before, ...

2)  Still, science has performed better than any other method in helping us feel out the contours of our reality.

3)  ... instructed their agents to feel out the wage possibilities and nightclub potential of a slightly lesser star.

4)  ... why we didn't want to do an extensive tour. We just wanted to feel out the landscape.

5)  ... something that would test the pipeline and just sort of feel out the market for what was the best thing we could possibly do.

6)  It was a good experience to feel out the competition like that before the state meet.

7)  ... or allow himself the opportunity to feel out the new relationship and determine if it's something over which he should end ...

8)  ... the company is regularly experimenting with new features and integrations to feel out the ever-changing market and keep up with new trends.

9)  The laser deployment is "a worthwhile experiment" because "it'll help us feel out the operational limitations" such as power constraints.

10)  A representative of Paulson's called Allergan to feel out the deal, according to the New York Times.

11)  I get to a competition and feel out the slopestyle course, and kind of see which directions the jumps are flowing.

12)  This is why it made sense for the EFF, for example, to feel out the possibilities of a coalition between the Workers and Socialist Party ...

13)  We'll take it one game at a time, and kind of feel out the start of the season, ...

14)  Regardless, this jailbreak is meant as a test to feel out the security flaws of iOS 6.

15)  I said nothing else that day. But I started to feel out the interest of both parties. 

16)  ... but it takes time before you begin to feel out the boundaries of possibility and strategy. 

17)  It means you should feel out the sales prospect to see if your product or service is affordable to them.

18)  ... know when to play, and when to leave space. Feel out the situation, listen to what the other players are playing, and just ...

19)  Allow your children space to feel out the situation for themselves.

20)  I feel out the characters, and take it from there, but every audience is different.