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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 ?
What a change to hear unambiguous, black-and-white Truth, with no apologies, no soft-pedaling, no allowances made for different ideas or variant versions of reality.
The EPA has drawn criticism for soft-pedaling restrictions on industries which befoul the environment.
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.
Maybe this soft-pedaling is evidence that Siegel is hoping for a spot in Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign.
Li's soft-pedaling of the issue set him apart from other top leaders.