downplay/undermine

rituparnahoymoy

Senior Member
Assamese -India
What is difference between downplay and undermine in this context.

You are downplaying/ undermining the significance of the issue.

You are downplaying / undermining importance of the officer's statement in this case?

You are downplaying/ undermining his talent .

And what should be the exact opposite word for these two in these context.

Overplay/overemphasize or exaggerate.
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Have you looked at the dictionary definitions? The two words have dissimilar meanings. To downplay is to make something sound less serious/important than it is. To undermine is to weaken.

    You are downplaying the significance of the issue. = You understand the issue's significance but you are making it sound less significant than it is.
    You are undermining the significance of the issue. = You are doing something to make the issue less significant.

    I find "undermine" in the last sentence odd - you can undermine someone's confidence (an acquired quality that can change in degree) but not his talent (an innate quality).

    "Exaggerate" works as an opposite of "downplay". The opposite of "undermine" is "strengthen" or "reinforce".
     

    rituparnahoymoy

    Senior Member
    Assamese -India
    Have you looked at the dictionary definitions? The two words have dissimilar meanings. To downplay is to make something sound less serious/important than it is. To undermine is to weaken.

    You are downplaying the significance of the issue. = You understand the issue's significance but you are making it sound less significant than it is.
    You are undermining the significance of the issue. = You are doing something to make the issue less significant.

    I find "undermine" in the last sentence odd - you can undermine someone's confidence (an acquired quality that can change in degree) but not his talent (an innate quality).

    "Exaggerate" works as an opposite of "downplay". The opposite of "undermine" is "strengthen" or "reinforce".
    Could you explain last part a bit more? Why someone can't downplay or undermine another talent but his confidence?
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I wasn't referring to downplaying someone's talent but only to undermining it.

    Talent is an inherent quality. And as I said, undermine means to weaken. You can't weaken a person's talent, just as you can't make him less intelligent than before, or less tall.

    Confidence on the other hand is something that can change in level from time to time - you might be very confident about something today but someone could say something that makes you less confident (that undermines your confidence).
     
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