To downplay something is to act as if it's not very important. If you're trying to convince your friends to play poker with you, you might downplay the fact that you're an experienced and competitive player.

Politicians who depend on contributions from oil and gas companies tend to downplay the environmental effects of their products, and a boy who wants a trampoline for his birthday might downplay the possible dangers when he talks to his parents about it. Downplay is a relatively recent addition to the English language, dating from the late 1960s.

Definitions of downplay
  1. verb
    understate the importance or quality of
    synonyms: background, play down
    see moresee less
    foreground, highlight, play up, spotlight
    move into the foreground to make more visible or prominent
    wave off
    dismiss as insignificant
    play down or obscure
    type of:
    accent, accentuate, emphasise, emphasize, punctuate, stress
    to stress, single out as important
  2. verb
    represent as less significant or important
    synonyms: minimise, minimize, understate
    see moresee less
    amplify, exaggerate, hyperbolise, hyperbolize, magnify, overdraw, overstate
    to enlarge beyond bounds or the truth
    trivialise, trivialize
    make trivial or insignificant
    type of:
    impart knowledge of some fact, state or affairs, or event to
Word Family

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