I am German and currently writing my thesis in English. Currently trying to categorize my qualitative codes and I am looking for an alternative expression/word for belittlement, that is less negatively connotated. It should be descriptive of making a situation appear less harmful. Minimization is part of the category.

I would greatly appreciate your input and I am looking forward to your answers:)



  • If a person is doing something to reduce the harmfulness of a problem, their action is to mitigate the risk or the harm/loss. This doesn’t sound quite right for the problem you described, but it may give you another class of words to think about.
    – user205876
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 22:45

3 Answers 3


Downplaying would be making something seem less offensive or dangerous, without necessarily having negative connotations.


We are looking for an alternative word / expression for "belittlement".

make (someone or something) seem unimportant.

  • With less negative connotation
  • That can be used when making a situation appear less harmful.
  • Minimization is part of the category

Not a complete list.


" - make or become less.
- make (someone or something) seem less impressive or valuable."


"2. Bring someone or something to (a lower or weaker state, condition, or role)."


"reduce to a lower grade, rank, or level of importance."


"underestimate the extent, value, or importance of (someone or something)"


"estimate (something) to be smaller or less important than it actually is"


One more:

They are making light of the situation.

make light of something
to joke about something or treat it as not being very serious, especially when it is important She tried to make light of the situation, but I could tell that she was worried.

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