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[sawft-ped-l, soft-] /ˌsɔftˈpɛd l, ˌsɒft-/
verb (used without object), soft-pedaled, soft-pedaling or (especially British) soft-pedalled, soft-pedalling.
to use the soft pedal.
verb (used with object), soft-pedaled, soft-pedaling or (especially British) soft-pedalled, soft-pedalling.
to soften the sound of by using the soft pedal.
Informal. to tone or play down; make less strong, as an idea or fact:
The dean soft-pedaled the reports of cheating.
Origin of soft-pedal
1915-20; v. use of noun phrase soft pedal Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for soft pedalled


verb (transitive) -als, -alling, -alled (US) -als, -aling, -aled
to mute the tone of (a piano) by depressing the soft pedal
(informal) to make (something, esp something unpleasant) less obvious by deliberately failing to emphasize or allude to it
a foot-operated lever on a piano, the left one of two, that either moves the whole action closer to the strings so that the hammers strike with less force or causes fewer of the strings to sound Compare sustaining pedal, piano1
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 soft pedalled



"to tone down," 1915, figurative use from the noun (1856) in reference to the left foot-lever of a piano, which makes it quieter among other effects; from soft (adj.) + pedal (n.).

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

soft money

noun phrase

  1. Currency that is highly inflated or likely to become less and less valuable: During the first two months of this year, soft money contributions, chiefly from industry, flowed into the coffers of the Republican National Committee (1940+)
  2. Campaign donations that are not regulated by the Federal Election Commission: raising millions of dollars of what is known in election-financing language as ''soft money''/ Clinton is behind in the collection of soft money, funds that are supposed to go for ''party-building activities'' but can make a big difference in a Presidential contest (1980s+ Politics)
  3. Money from research grants, which may run out if the grant is not renewed (1976+ Universities)

[modeled on hard money]

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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