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I'm trying to figure out a word that expresses the idea of "tempering expectations" or "buffering" something. I've heard the word in the past, but I really can't figure out what it is, so I'm hoping the hivemind would know. I think it starts with a b, but I can't be sure.

A sample usage is:

I would [verb] that by saying that the results are still inconclusive, but they're interesting nonetheless.


I searched the thesaurus for temper and moderate — here's the entry for temper:

their idealism is tempered with realism: moderate, modify, modulate, mitigate, alleviate, reduce, weaken, lighten, soften.

None of these exactly speak to it, but the first few close (especially moderate). The rest aren't on target.

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    I don't see what's wrong with using temper in this context, but underplay, downplay, play down, tone down might work. Or just qualify. Dec 11, 2014 at 22:49
  • 3
    The standard term used to fill in your blank is "qualify".
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 11, 2014 at 22:49
  • If you want something beginning with B you could use 'balance'. Dec 11, 2014 at 22:56
  • Perhaps subdue. For example, you can subdue expectations or feelings. (and it has B in it.)
    – ermanen
    Feb 10, 2015 at 2:17
  • "Temper your expectations" reminds me of "curb your enthusiasm"
    – lux
    Aug 17, 2017 at 21:55

2 Answers 2

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I would qualify that by saying that the results are still inconclusive, but they're interesting nonetheless.

Qualify: (tr) to make less strong, harsh, or violent; moderate or restrict (fr. the Free Dictionary)

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  • ah, I see now that my wise colleagues have already suggested this solution in the comments...
    – Rusty Tuba
    Dec 11, 2014 at 23:07
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Bolster?

Jimmy had to bolster his expectations because he clearly would never date higher than a 3.

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    That would have the opposite sense. It would mean to build up or increase expectations.
    – MetaEd
    Aug 17, 2017 at 20:15
  • Welcome to ELU. Answers should be justified by corroborative evidence such as a dictionary entry. If you can find one for bolster where that means "moderate, modify, modulate, mitigate, alleviate, reduce, weaken, lighten, soften" then please edit your answer to include it.
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 17, 2017 at 22:07

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