soft-pedal » soft-peddle

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • The Israelis are sort of soft-peddling it and saying that they’re very content with the way the United States is handling the Middle East and they’re not really happy that such a deal might have been offered. (Dept. of State Daily Press Briefing, Aug. 12, 1994)
  • Apparently assured that he had won Yel’tsin’s endorsement, Rodionov launched attacks against the government for non-payment of funds, against ‘new Russians’ for ruining the Armed Forces, and against Baturin for soft-peddling the dire circumstances of the military. (NIS Observed, Mar. 5, 1997)
  • At the start of the Third Reich, therefore, Hitler’s government soft-peddled its antisemitism, and Hitler carefully steered a course between what he would like to do and what was possible, given public opinion at home and abroad. (Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany, 2001)
  • Hyejin Jae, a classmate also spurned by Berkeley and UCLA, worries that she hurt her chances by soft-peddling family hardships. (Wall St. Journal, July 12, 2002)
  • Education that soft-peddles the flaws of the Democrats will hurt the left. (New Politics, Summer 2004)

Analyzed or reported by:

As Q. Pheevr notes, _soft-peddle_ makes perfect sense in contexts suggesting a “soft sell.”

See also backpeddle.

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/07/17 |

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