down·​play | \ ˈdau̇n-ˌplā How to pronounce downplay (audio) \
downplayed; downplaying; downplays

Definition of downplay

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Examples of downplay in a Sentence

Athletes often downplay their injuries. he self-deprecatingly downplays his own contributions to the festival's success
Recent Examples on the Web Rather than coming together as a nation to slow the spread of SARS-CoV2, far too many Americans in positions of power have chosen to ignore, downplay or politicize these recommendations while supporting dangerous antiscience beliefs and behaviors. Serggio Lanata, Scientific American, "A Vaccination against the Pandemic of Misinformation," 22 Feb. 2021 This revisionism stems from Trump’s success at muddying the waters and from efforts by Republicans and conservative media to downplay the seriousness of Trump’s infractions. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Press’s Strange Memory-Holing of Trump’s First Impeachment," 11 Feb. 2021 Yet within days, prominent Republicans, party officials, conservative media voices and rank-and-file voters began making a rhetorical shift to try to downplay the group’s violent actions. New York Times, "How Republicans Are Warping Reality Around the Capitol Attack," 17 Jan. 2021 Already, conspiracy theorists, QAnon supporters, and far-right groups believe COVID-19 to be a hoax or a nonissue, and this network, alongside traditional anti-vaccine activists, will downplay or disparage the vaccines. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "Pandemic Year Two," 29 Dec. 2020 Jones posted a 31-second video clip of the agents' arrival on Twitter on Monday afternoon, creating new outrage against DeSantis, who in the eyes of her supporters has continued to try to downplay the virus. Patricia Mazzei New York Times, Star Tribune, "Florida virus-numbers saga reads like a crime novel," 12 Dec. 2020 Unlike some Disney alumni, Selena makes no attempt to downplay or discredit her launchpad. Jessica Chia, Allure, "Selena Gomez Is in Full Control of Her Life," 9 Sep. 2020 Even as the Chiefs downplay it, there has to be concern. Barry Wilner, ajc, "Big offenses, overlooked defenses in AFC title game," 22 Jan. 2021 Even as the Chiefs downplay it, there has to be concern. Barry Wilner, Star Tribune, "Big offenses, overlooked defenses in AFC title game," 22 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'downplay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of downplay

1948, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for downplay

Time Traveler

The first known use of downplay was in 1948

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Statistics for downplay

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Downplay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of downplay

: to make (something) seem smaller or less important

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