low-key

1 of 2

adjective

variants or less commonly low-keyed
1
: having or producing dark tones only with little contrast
2
: of low intensity : restrained

low-key

2 of 2

adverb

1
informal : in a way or to a degree that is moderate or limited
It didn't take long for all of us to become low-key [=somewhat] obsessed with Lizzo … Abi Travis
Everywhere we go, we're low-key [=casually] checking out coffee shops, parks, and window seats for maximum reading coziness. Charlotte Ahlin
We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which products have low-key changed their lives. Samantha Wieder
First things first: for what it's worth, I low-key think Jake Gyllenhaal is the best actor of his generation. Eric Ital
2
informal : without seeking or receiving much attention or recognition
Nordstrom low-key announced the sale with little fanfare … Danielle Gonzalez
The 21-year-old model and 24-year-old musician surprised everyone when they low-key stepped into a New York City courthouse to make it official … Jamie Leelo
… is low-key getting some of the best and most underrated lines in these episodes … Kase Wickman
She was low-key the best player on that season … Leigh Oleszczak

Word History

First Known Use

Adjective

1897, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

2010, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of low-key was in 1897

Dictionary Entries Near low-key

Cite this Entry

“Low-key.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/low-key. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

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