What is the meaning of "downplayed"?

By Sabrina, New York, USA (13th Dec. 2006).

Whenever a politician gets caught in a scandal, what does he do? He tries to downplay it. When you downplay something what you are trying to do is to make it appear to be less important than what it actually is. You tend to treat the matter or issue as not being very serious. The word has the same meaning as "to play down".

Here are a few examples.

* The Government tried to downplay the significance of the issue.

* Gayathri always downplays her role in saving the hospital.

* To keep his parents from worrying, Sharma downplayed the dangers of his job.

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