Definition of tone something down in US English:

tone something down

phrasal verb

  • 1Make something less harsh in sound or color.

    • ‘The second way is to spot meter the scene calculating the dark area that you want to expose for and also the highlight area that you want to tone down.’
    • ‘Instead of her usual style where bright, fluorescent colours stand out, this time the colour palette is toned down and the concentration is on darker shades.’
    • ‘When you've been sunbathing and your skin has a slight lobster tinge, don't wear a light colour that night - dark colours will tone down the burnt effect.’
    • ‘Susan picked this colour for the walls, and toned it down with white to produce the shade she wanted, and the result is admirable.’
    • ‘I would suggest toning the colours down a bit, so it's not quite so harsh on the eyes’
    • ‘Would it really have detracted if the big keyboard synth sounds had been toned down to a minimum?’
    • ‘We have gone away from the bright colour scheme and toned it down slightly.’
    • ‘Coat lipstick with a darker lip gloss to tone it down.’
    • ‘The synths had been toned down, replaced with tired guitar sounds.’
    subdue, make less garish, soften, lighten, dim, mute
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    1. 1.1 Make something less extreme or intense.
      ‘I just hope we can now begin to tone down the rhetoric’
      • ‘Next time, boys, it may be possible to tone it down just a notch without losing any of the entertainment value.’
      • ‘When every other punk band was playing as fast as they could and spewing left-wing rhetoric, these guys were toning it down a notch, providing a more emotive and reflective tone and a poppier sound.’
      • ‘We had some very bruising sessions, so bruising that Clive had to step in and ask the players to tone it down.’
      • ‘Even though they said they wanted to shock and offend, when it came right down to it, the network toned the content down.’
      • ‘I think that they could pull the country together a lot better by just toning the rhetoric down a bit.’
      • ‘When she realized how flirtatious that sounded, Jessica toned it down a bit.’
      • ‘My mother asked if it was possible for me to tone the show down a bit for her.’
      • ‘Brendan heard himself being melodramatic and toned it down a couple of notches.’
      • ‘Critics last night claimed the report had been toned down because of concerns that its most ‘extreme’ findings would ruffle too many feathers within the establishment.’
      • ‘To move to the next level, however, the chain needed to tone down its image a bit.’
      moderate, modify, modulate, mitigate, temper, dampen, soften, lighten
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