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play down

Meaning: to try to make something seem less important or less damaging than it really is

Synonym: minimize, downplay

For example:

  • play down sth The government's spokesman tried to play down the worsening economic data.

  • play sth down When he told his parents he was being sent to fight in Iraq, he tried to play the dangers down by saying he was going to a peaceful area.

Quick Quiz:

If somebody tries to play down something that they've done, it's probably because they feel
  1. proud of it
  2. ashamed of it
  3. good about it

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