Definition of soft pedal in English:

soft pedal

noun

  • A pedal on a piano that can be pressed to make the tone softer.

    See also una corda
    • ‘Do the greatest pianists really play with the soft pedal down almost all the time?’
    • ‘Are quick passages really easier to play with the soft pedal down?’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]Music
  • 1Play with the soft pedal down.

    1. 1.1 Refrain from emphasizing the more unpleasant aspects of; play down.
      ‘the administration's decision to soft-pedal the missile program’
      • ‘Indeed, I suspect that Pejman was soft-pedaling it for a conservative audience.’
      • ‘Any notion that the board will be disinclined to soft-pedal borderline issues which an outside committee might flag for further scrutiny based on a ‘once bitten twice shy’ basis is wishful thinking.’
      • ‘And all these interests, and local authorities, want to see more investment in rail and local transport and would be upset if those parts of the study recommendations are rejected or soft-pedalled.’
      • ‘They soft-pedal the news because they worry she'll take it personally, or worse - that she'll start to cry, Annis said.’
      • ‘What's remarkable, though, is that the film doesn't soft-pedal the real pain that her husband's cheating causes Mary.’
      • ‘The authors convincingly demonstrate the inefficiency and arrogance of these institutions, even as they try to soft-pedal their criticisms in order to ‘stay relevant’ in the eyes of the key power brokers.’
      • ‘They must soft-pedal any news on inflation to keep consumers from pulling in their horns, while making sure that everyone believes that inflation is sufficiently large to warrant a new cycle of rate increases.’
      • ‘Granted, the film probably soft-pedals the details a little in order to allow for an ending that, although not exactly happy, is not completely downbeat.’
      • ‘An Embassy sometimes soft-pedals a demarche when it is ordered to register a complaint but does not want to disrupt comfortable relations with the host government.’
      • ‘Both sides soft-pedaled that notion, describing the session as simply an update on contract negotiations.’
      • ‘We soft-pedaled the investment in 2004, because we were still in the cleanup phase and we didn't want to confuse the investment community.’
      • ‘The gifted people Canora has gathered together needn't soft-pedal their spirit or skill.’
      • ‘She also appeared to soft-pedal the idea that the media was at fault, saying instead that it was too early in the fraud-investigation process to blame reporters for not being more aggressive.’
      • ‘I wanted to soft-pedal some of her actions and thoughts, mitigate them through my adult perception and, at times, make excuses for her behavior.’
      • ‘In some cases - antioxidant-rich cranberry juice, for example - the health claims for nutrients actually have to be soft-pedaled, lest they trigger regulations that require foods to undergo the same approval process as drugs.’
      • ‘Are we done down-playing, soft-pedaling, justifying and nuancing this yet?’
      • ‘‘Report the news as it happens and don't try to soft-pedal everything,’ said Wally Rayl of Cheyenne, Wyo.’
      • ‘It is wrong, and we really can't soft pedal that answer.’
      • ‘Far from soft-pedaling his Catholicism, James II celebrated mass in public, appointed Catholics to important positions, fired officials who wouldn't convert.’
      • ‘Still, others, starting with the Government departments, are now soft pedalling.’
      play down, 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
      View synonyms

Pronunciation

soft pedal

/sôft ˈpedl//sɔft ˈpɛdl/