Etymology
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downplay (v.)

"de-emphasize, minimize," 1968, from verbal phrase play (something) down, which is perhaps from music or theater;  down (adv.) + play (v.). Related: Downplayed; downplaying.

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Definitions of downplay

downplay (v.)
represent as less significant or important;
downplay (v.)
understate the importance or quality of;
Synonyms: background / play down
From wordnet.princeton.edu