Why was clemency trending last week?


[doun-pley] /ˈdaʊnˌpleɪ/
verb (used with object)
to treat or speak of (something) so as to reduce emphasis on its importance, value, strength, etc.:
The press has downplayed the president's role in the negotiations.
Origin of downplay
1950-55; down1 + play, from verb phrase play down Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for downplay
  • Scientists downplay the role of global warming in the formation of icebergs.
  • We often downplay the importance of ceremony and ritual in university life.
  • That's what governments do best, they cover up or downplay disasters so that no one panics, and so they can get re-elected.
  • Of course the tourism industry is going to downplay the effects.
  • However, he argues it would be wrong to downplay the role of science in the process.
  • With it came efforts to downplay the dangers of shoddily reconstructing a compact city on such precarious ground.
  • Aboard his plane, however, the secretary tries to downplay the importance of the budget votes.
  • The have millions to spin their fairy tales and downplay the negatives.
  • And perhaps with our particular favorites there is a tendency to downplay their popularity.
  • It will be something that right-wing news outlets will either downplay or credit to the last president.
British Dictionary definitions for downplay


(transitive) to play down; make little of
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for downplay

"de-emphasize," 1968, from down (adv.) + play (v.). Related: Downplayed; downplaying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for downplay



To deemphasize; minimize; soft-pedal: They're downplaying the role of bias in all this (1968+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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