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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
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.
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.
You should soft-pedal the use of this overworked piece of political advertising, because the punters get tired of endless repetition of something as "new", when obviously it isn''t.
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.
However, it soft-pedals Diana's wildly contradictory nature.
But this production soft-pedals the politics, concentrating on a shallow tour of the demimonde.
But when faced with the most anti-environmental President in history, a man who makes even Ronald Reagan look like Edward Abbey, will an educational message that soft-pedals the politics get results?
THE Journal rather soft-pedals on the difficulties posed by Newcastle's membership of the so-called 'core cities' group (The Journal, November 22).
He soft-pedals the Bible's hatred of homosexuality by characterizing it as "seven peculiar verses that seem to frown on homosexual acts.