Quote “I would hate to see the flames of discontent be watered down by visions of hope and change, when historically those things have only come from workers or people fighting against segregation.”
Musician Zach de la Rocha explaining why Obama isn’t leftist enough for him. (LA Times)
Meaning weakened; made to be less intense
Use A lot of people in the US are very unhappy with the government. President Bush is one of the most disliked presidents in history. But it’s an election year. So what will happen now?
Rage Against the Machine vocalist De la Rocha says he likes Obama, but doesn’t think he’ll be able to fix the problems of the US. Although he might make some progress, De la Rocha is worried that if Obama is elected, people will become content and forget about deeper problems. He sees that the desire for change is strong, and worries that a little change will water it down or weaken it before enough change takes place.
Watered down is commonly used figuratively the way De la Rocha uses it (he includes “fire” in the same sentence for an extra touch, but you don’t have to do that), but it’s also used literally. If you add water to a drink to weaken it, you’re watering it down.
Art, music and ideas are also commonly watered down. It just means that they lack passion. If one day De la Rocha stops being so revolutionary, people will say his ideas and music are watered down. Let’s hope that never happens.
Examples “I’ve have five of these and I’m not feeling drunk at all. I think they’re watered down.”
“Their first records were full of passion, but more recently, their music has been watered down and boring.”