When you dial it back or dial somethingk back you reduce the strength or intensity of something. It’s often used when something somebody is doing is considered excessive. Maybe they’re being too aggressive or putting themselves or somebody at risk because of their behaviour.


Think of a dial or a knob and how you would turn it back to reduce, let’s say, the volume. Metaphorically, back is often used in the sense of having less of something, reducing something, something not being as strong as before.


Here are some examples. Please, notice the collocations.

The incident has caused her to dial back her alcohol consumption.

He needs to dial back his aggressiveness at times to avoid injury.

They have asked him to dial back his rhetoric regarding illegal immigrants.

She is happy to spend time with her kids right now and dial back her career.

You might want to dial it back a bit.

Do you have areas where you need to dial it back a bit?

Just dial it back a notch or two.



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