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

Definition of downplay

Keep scrolling for more

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 But Trump was the only one to skip a session focused on climate change, a problem he’s downplayed or outright denied. Los Angeles Times, "Trump says he’s willing to negotiate with Iran, doesn’t want leadership change," 26 Aug. 2019 On the Republican side, Trump has regularly questioned, downplayed or mocked the threat of climate change and has reacted to the Green New Deal in similar fashion. NBC News, "What is the 'Green New Deal,' and how would it work?," 23 Aug. 2019 Combine those results with the latest rise in prominence and rhetoric of white nationalists, many of whom generally downplay the pogrom’s death toll or deny the event happened at all, and a troubling correlation is easy to see. Tony Rehagen,, "A Holocaust survivor built a remarkable monument to hope and memory. Now that she’s gone, who will remind us?," 16 Aug. 2019 But former athletes say various campus staff downplayed or disregarded their complaints about him. Fox News, "NCAA clears Michigan State in Nassar sexual-assault scandal, school says," 30 Aug. 2018 Even before Tuesday’s reversal in prices, economists downplayed the prospect that the price spike could send the economy reeling. Washington Post, "US economy could shrug off oil prices if disruption is brief," 17 Sep. 2019 The final environmental impact statement for oil and gas leasing in ANWR, released on Thursday by the Bureau of Land Management, downplays the impact that drilling would have on the climate. Adam Aton, Scientific American, "Drilling Could Cause Extinctions in Alaskan Refuge, Government Plan Says," 16 Sep. 2019 Following the Packers 21-16 win over the Vikings on Sunday, veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers downplayed what appeared to be a spat with new head coach Matt LaFleur. Charlotte Carroll,, "Aaron Rodgers Downplays Matt LaFleur Exchange: 'It Actually Wasn't a Big Deal'," 15 Sep. 2019 Economists often downplay the role of China, suggesting that the decline in U.S. manufacturing in particular was driven primarily by technological progress. Karl W. Smith, Twin Cities, "Karl W. Smith: The good news about income inequality," 15 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of downplay

1948, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about downplay

Statistics for downplay

Last Updated

3 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for downplay

The first known use of downplay was in 1948

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for downplay


How to pronounce downplay (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of downplay

: to make (something) seem smaller or less important

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on downplay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for downplay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with downplay

Spanish Central: Translation of downplay

Nglish: Translation of downplay for Spanish Speakers

Comments on downplay

What made you want to look up downplay? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to spread as a report or rumor

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!