Definition of play something down in US English:

play something down

phrasal verb

  • Represent something as being less important than it in fact is.

    ‘he tried to play down the seriousness of his illness’
    • ‘We are in a substantial and serious crisis and both the government and the media are playing it down.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, this whole episode was played down by the press.’
    • ‘However, the Scottish Executive were playing the possibility down.’
    • ‘If Torrance made any significant contribution to his son's tactical thinking he is playing it down.’
    • ‘Within the corridors of parliament last week, many opposition MSPs had begun playing the affair down.’
    • ‘As much as she plays it down, not wishing to ‘romanticise’ it, her home life must have been a rich source of inspiration.’
    • ‘Sharon plays it down, insisting it'll be a small affair.’
    • ‘We are definitely playing this win down - it's easy for the supporters to get carried away but we have to take certain things into account.’
    • ‘But Det Supt Higgins yesterday played his role down, saying he could never have done it without the extraordinary dedication of a team of officers.’
    • ‘But the risk is played down by the government body meant to ensure that our food is safe, the Food Standards Agency.’
    make light of, make little of, make nothing of, set little store by, set no store by, gloss over, de-emphasize, underemphasize, downplay, understate, underplay, minimize, shrug off
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