Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Jan 7 01:21:05 UTC 2005

At 09:16 AM 1/6/2005, you wrote:
>      "I don't have to down-talk Oklahoma," said Reggie Bush, USC's
>      sophomore general yard-gainer. "Everyone saw the way we played,
>      saw the way Oklahoma played. It's really pretty self-explanatory."
>"Down-talk" is an apparent inversion of "talk down (to)" on the model of
>"play down > downplay".  (The sports usage may also be influenced by "talk
>trash > trash-talk".)  Nothing in OED, HDAS, MWCD, etc., though HDAS does
>have "downmouth" (supposedly a blend of "downgrade" and "badmouth").
>Here are some cites (beginning with "down-talking", ppl. a./vbl. n.): ....

I think there are two different items here:

(1) "talk down" (v.t.) = "disparage"/"derogate"/"bad-mouth";

(2) "talk down" (v.i., often with "to") = "speak in an inferior
direction"/"speak in a condescending manner"/etc.

-- Doug Wilson

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