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See more synonyms for downplay on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to treat or speak of (something) so as to reduce emphasis on its importance, value, strength, etc.: The press has downplayed the president's role in the negotiations.
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Origin of downplay

1950–55; down1 + play, from verb phrase play down
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for downplay


  1. (tr) to play down; make little of
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for downplay


"de-emphasize," 1968, from down (adv.) + play (v.). Related: Downplayed; downplaying.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper