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

v understate the importance or quality of

background, play down
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

v represent as less significant or important

minimise, minimize, understate
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

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