I'm looking for a phrase that would encapsulate something I'm trying to describe, which would be someone who has distinct or strong views/opinions, but due to their current position or a position they're trying to achieve, they're now not as vocal or distinct with those positions, and instead softened/backpedaled their stances on them.

I am thinking this can be described as

lowering their voice


softening their tone

but these 2 phrases seem to generic to fit what I'm trying to describe well. Are there better alternatives?

An example of such a situation would be a former Apple (the company) hater, who was vocal about the negatives of Apple the company and its products, now working at Apple, and they're not as opinionated anymore, or they try to clarify their older positions and morph them into meaningless generic statements.

1 Answer 1


Lowering their voice is not what you want: this means to speak more quietly.

Softening their tone is quite appropriate.

In current political and news writing, you often see:

  • The spokesman tried to row back the previous statements (Metaphor for rowing boat)
  • Also walk back
  • The spokesman tried to downplay the previous statements (Make them sound less important)

As a strong statement that the speaker has the opposite position to previously,

  • The spokesman had to swallow his own words when the statement was shown to be false by the newspapers.

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