soft pedal[sôft′ped′'l, säft′-]
soft pedal definition by Webster's New World
a pedal used to soften or dampen the tone of a piano or any of certain other musical instruments
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
soft pedal definition by American Heritage Dictionary
A pedal used to mute tone, as on a piano.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
transitive verb soft-ped·aled or soft-ped·alled, soft-ped·al·ing or soft-ped·al·ling, soft-ped·als
- Music To soften or mute the tone of by depressing the soft pedal.
- Informal To make less emphatic or obvious; play down: soft-pedal a potentially explosive issue.
soft pedal - Phrases/Idioms
Something that de-emphasizes, restrains, or plays down, as in The mayor put a soft pedal on this potentially explosive situation. This expression alludes to the una corda or soft pedal of the piano, which reduces the volume of the sound. It gave rise to the verb soft-pedal, meaning both “reduce the volume of” or “make less emphatic, downplay.” [Early 1900s]