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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 ?
SNP leader Alex Salmond, reeling from claims that he is soft-pedalling his party's independence policy, attempted to come out fighting.
THE threat of relegation may have dissipated but Shepshed Dynamo's new manager, John Hanna, has pledged: There will be no soft-pedalling on the run-in.
With the state government and TMC leader Mamata Banerjee soft-pedalling on the violence, Karat's reaction appeared justified.
Back in the real world, I notice Hattie is easing herself into power as party chairman by soft-pedalling hostility to the Iraq war and the pounds 20billion Trident replacement.
But, although Swinney is soft-pedalling, the bottom line for the Nats is always the same - full independence.
But if you think this is some soft-pedalling 1999 version of Uncle Tom's Cabin, a sort of Harriet Beecher Stowe on speed, a cursory glance at the first page will put paid to that idea.
Ironically, it was the soft-pedalling of SFA Disciplinary Committee chairman Chris Robinson when hearing the cases of Old Firm bosses Dick Advocaat and Kenny Dalglish that led to the outcry by refs.