One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘I don't want to make light of a serious issue’
play down, downplay, understate, underrate, rate too low, not do justice to, do an injustice to, underplay, de-emphasize, underemphasize, trivialize, minimize, diminish, downgrade, reduce, lessen, brush aside, gloss over, shrug off
informal soft-pedal, sell short
rare misprize, minify
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