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soft-pedal something

to play something down; to de-emphasize something. (Alludes to the soft pedal on the piano, which reduces the volume.) Try to soft-pedal the problems we have with the cooling system. I won't soft-pedal anything. Everyone must know the truth.
References in periodicals archive ?
Scott Parker is typical of too many modern players; Alan Curbishley provided an example of good, firm management at a time when too many managers have to soft-pedal in case they incur a sullen attitude from players; Paul Hart, a solid football citizen, faces the sack while his injured players recuperate in Lanzarote
So, for example, trade-union activists who are unable to win rank-and-file workers over to their "revolutionary" programs will apologize for Farrakhan and the protofascist militia movement, soft-pedal opposition to sexism and homophobia, support tax-cut politics, and retreat from support for reproductive freedom and aggressive policy intervention to promote racial and gender equality.
Enough teachers already seem to soft-pedal the homosexual lifestyle, to make any program with the slightest ambiguity a further danger to both student and teacher.
How much longer can leftists look the other way while West prattles on about "collective clinical depression," rampant "nihilism," and calls for a "politics of conversion" and a "love ethic" Even after watching him strain to defend the Million Man March's patriarchal foundation and soft-pedal Farrakhan's fascist politics?
Sometimes you may feel that in the interest of credibility it is better to soft-pedal the adjectives.
Ballard doesn't overdo the cuteness (and the cheetah cub is impossibly adorable) earlier in the film, and he doesn't soft-pedal the dangers when they present themselves.
Presumably, a lower rating would have led to criticism that the network was trying to soft-pedal the graphic violence in "Brooklyn South.
That said, the production doesn't soft-pedal the ways in which people can sabotage themselves, even if the the solutions it offers up depend more on angelic intercession than real psychological growth.
Zook plays brainy and needy with equal conviction, and she doesn't soft-pedal Miriam's eccentricity, even when Henry writes the character into victim mode.
It's self-knowingly silly and has the sense to soft-pedal its pro-family message so it never turns sappy.
The game takes on even greater significance because of United boss Alex Ferguson's controversial comments over whether Pearce would soft-pedal because Newcastle provide the opposition in his benefit game next week.
While the film doesn't try to soft-pedal the Pistols' bad-boy showmanship, it does put it in a wider perspective.
The chief flaw in Weide's documentary is that it tends to soft-pedal Bruce's drug use - at one point, his mother credits them with ``keeping him together'' - a rather unfortunate gambit given the fact that he did, after all, die of a heroin overdose.
He plays Solomon with a powerful inner strength, yet he never soft-pedals the silent nightmare that is Solomon's daily existence.