Meaning of downplay


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


    background, play down

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    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


    minimise, minimize, understate

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    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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