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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 ?
There is something paradoxical about jumping from soft-pedaling the ideological character of the struggle between the superpowers to excoriating Americans for their lack of morality once the conflict has concluded.
On April 12 in Las Vegas, there'll be none of the soft-pedaling, reluctant knockout artist who allowed big Brandon Rios to escape and survive in Macau last November.
Maybe this soft-pedaling is evidence that Siegel is hoping for a spot in Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign.
Big Idea prexy-chief operating officer Terry Botwick says Veggie Tales are set in "biblical worlds," soft-pedaling Old Testament morality tales that appeal to both Jewish and Christian viewers without turning off less devout general auds.
Li's soft-pedaling of the issue set him apart from other top leaders.
Committees write reports soft-pedaling conclusions that reflect badly on important scientists.