Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
1. To speak in a way that demeans, depreciates, or diminishes something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "talk" and "down." The company spokesperson made a point of talking down the reported side effects of the drug. Stop talking the issue down like it isn't important, because it is!
2. To silence or drown out someone, as in an argument or debate, especially by talking more loudly or persistently than them. In this usage, a name, noun, or pronoun can be used between "talk" and "down." I tried to bring up the allegations against the senator during the press conference, but the she just kept talking me down. Even though she made much stronger points, her opponent was able to talk her down during the debate and was deemed the victor.
3. To assist a pilot in landing an aircraft by giving directions via radio. We just received word from the pilot that his navigation equipment isn't working, so we're going to have to talk him down.
4. To gently coax or persuade someone not to do something extreme or harmful; to calm someone down from an agitated and potentially dangerous frame of mind. James was so distraught after the breakup that I spent the rest of the night talking him down. She was ready to go to the police and send us all to jail, so we had to talk her down.
talk down to (one)
To speak in an insultingly condescending manner to someone; to speak to someone as if they are less mature, intelligent, or capable than they really are. I try not to talk down to my kids when they ask me a serious question. I hate the way my boss talks down to me whenever I ask him to explain something.
talk someone down
1. to win at debating someone. Liz was able to talk her opponent down. She talked down her opponent.
2. to direct a novice pilot to make a safe landing by giving spoken instructions over the airplane's radio. The people on the ground talked down the amateur pilot successfully. I wonder how many movies have been made about someone talking a pilot down.
3. to convince someone to lower the price of something. The price tag said $2,000 for the car, but I talked down the salesman by threatening to go elsewhere. This is my final offer. Don't try to talk me down.
1. Belittle, depreciate, as in They talked down the importance of the move.
2. Silence someone by speaking loudly and persistently, as in They talked down whatever objections she brought up. [Early 1800s]
3. Help an aircraft to land by giving directions via radio, as in The fog was so thick the control tower had to talk us down. [c. 1940]
4. See talk down to.
1. To try to convince others that something is minor or insignificant: The company president talked down the importance of the move. The sales manager talked the changes down so the staff wouldn't worry.
2. To cause the price or value of a particular investment to decrease by talking about it or factors affecting it: The investors talked down the airline's stock price, spreading rumors about the management so that they could purchase the stock at a discount.
3. To persuade someone to reduce an asking price: The customer talked the salesman down to $50 from a list price of $75. I managed to talk down the price of the used car.
4. To speak in an overtly simple manner that betrays a feeling of superiority: The unpopular principal talked down to the students.
5. To silence someone, especially by speaking in a loud and domineering manner: Every time we tried to say anything, they just talked us down. The crowd talked down the speaker.
6. To direct and control the flight of some aircraft or of some pilot during an approach for landing by radioed instructions from either the ground or a nearby aircraft: The control tower talked down the damaged plane. The air controllers talked the shaken pilot down.