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Something dumbs down
To dumb something down
the dumbing down of something
= to make something simpler easier, or more appealing to a wide audience which reduces it’s quality and makes it more stupid.
“TV is dumbing down more and more these days with all these reality shows”
“TV really dumbed down after the introduction of digital broadcasting”
“Commercials cause the dumbing down of TV”

Transcript for #16

This is Luke from Luke’s English Podcast. This year I’m teaching you a phrasal verb every day. I hope I can keep this up. Now, today’s phrasal verb is TO DUMB DOWN.


That’s spelt “D”-“U”-“M”-“B” DOWN

Be careful, there’s a silent “B” in there.


Now, if something DUMBS DOWN or if you DUMB something DOWN. It means that you make it more, you make it simpler, easier to understand, but as a result that makes it, kind of, stupid, and it reduces the quality of it.


A lot of people say that TV is DUMBING DOWN – right? Meaning that, general quality of Television programs has reduced and it’s just TV shows these days tend to appeal to a very broad audience. They’re not very distinctive. They’re just sort of appealing to everybody, and as a result the quality of those TV programs is reducing and generally the standard of TV is just DUMBING DOWN.


So, people talk about that, it’s also a noun “DUMBING DOWN” – The DUMBING DOWN of TV.


Yeah, for example, since loads of new TV channels were introduced when digital came in a few years ago. There were loads of TV channels available. They all had to try to appeal to a large audience and as a result they started to produce shows that were pretty stupid really, not very challenging, not particularly distinctive, you know – reality, loads of reality shows and “Big Brother” and that kind of thing.

So people complained that TV was DUMBING DOWN. They talked about DUMBING DOWN of TV.

What do you…, in f…, it’s not just TV can refer to all culture. People say that culture is generally DUMBING DOWN.

What do you thing? Is TV DUMBING DOWN? Is that the same in your country?

That’s it for this episode.

There will be another one of these – tomorrow!

Don’t forget to visit the website where you can read definitions and a full transcript for this episode which will be available soon – teacherluke.wordpress.com

That’s teacherluke.wordpress.com

Go there you will find all of there episodes. You will be able to download them from there as well.

Okay. That’s it for this one.

There will be another one tomorrow.

Bye bye bye bye bye

Apparently, television is bad for your eyes.

  • Alier

    South Sudan TV is dumbing down seriously there are no good programs which can attract someone to watch, I prefer to watch other channels rather than SSTV.

  • Denis Paraschuk

    I like Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Animal planets. Other channels are dumbing down. This is my point of view.

  • María José

    Well I don´t watch that much TV so I can´t really say if it is dumbing down or not, but on the other hand… maybe the reason why I don´t find TV interesting is because of the dumbing down. Does it make any sense? hahahha

  • Gabriel GS

    I guess TV is dumbing down all around the world. Here in Mexico, most programs are poor quality; that´s why people are switching to cable TV.

  • raulito

    Luke,in my country Peru I really think that TV is dumbing down.The negatives effects outweigh the positives and although most people know it they still watch them.At this rate I don’t really know where we are going to get.

  • Hi Luke
    Another download link to Episode 1

  • Bettina

    Hi Luke, well as you might have realized by yourself in France the TV program dumbs seriously down. However your podcast never dumbs down ! Every single episode is awesome !!!

  • euoamo

    Hi Luke,
    Thank you, and here is a nice place to learn new phrases.
    As for TV programs, TV is dumbing down in Japan, too. That’s why I don’t watch Japanese TV shows as much as I used to. I started watching foreign TV dramas to learn launguages.


  • Luiz Carlos

    Here in Brazil, TV is dumbing down its programs. Unfortunately we have no choice, really one channel is worst than another when we talking about free broadcasting.