over·​play | \ ˌō-vər-ˈplā How to pronounce overplay (audio) \
overplayed; overplaying; overplays

Definition of overplay

transitive verb

1a : to present (a dramatic role) extravagantly : exaggerate
b : to place too much emphasis on
2 : to rely too much on the strength of usually used in the phrase overplay one's hand
3 : to strike a golf ball beyond (a putting green)

intransitive verb

: to exaggerate a part or effect

Examples of overplay in a Sentence

The network news overplayed the story just to get good ratings. He overplayed the death scene.

Recent Examples on the Web

The big question, as ever, is whether the Democrats will misread public sentiment and overplay what looks today like a strong hand. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "Will Democrats Overplay Their Good Hand?," 1 Jan. 2019 Even the foibles of an extremely privileged community such as Greenwich, ripe for cheap shots, aren’t overplayed. John Donvan, WSJ, "‘The Class’ Review: Science-Fair Confidential," 16 Dec. 2018 Republicans said Judge Kavanaugh’s opponents may have overplayed their hand as protesters adopted aggressive tactics. Peter Nicholas, WSJ, "GOP Muscles Kavanaugh Through Senate," 7 Oct. 2018 At the very least, Senate Democrats overplayed their hand. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "Voices of Reason—and Unreason," 11 Oct. 2018 In fact, a lot of Democrats overplayed their hand by hectoring and interrupting. Fox News, "Amb. Jon Huntsman previews the Trump-Putin summit," 16 July 2018 Everything that happens is either shallow and cosmetic, or a huge, overplayed story beat that gets blown out of proportion. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The Walking Dead’s fresh start looks like a big step back," 12 Nov. 2018 Don't overplay to the liberal women in the Republican conference. Fox News, "Ingraham: Democrats racing to the left," 28 June 2018 That’s especially true when those choices are so often couched in ridiculous extremes and overplayed tropes. Daniel Starkey, Ars Technica, "Assassin’s Creed Odyssey," 4 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overplay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of overplay

1767, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Statistics for overplay

Last Updated

22 May 2019

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Time Traveler for overplay

The first known use of overplay was in 1767

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English Language Learners Definition of overplay

: to give too much attention to (something) : to make (something) seem more important than it really is
disapproving : to show too much emotion when acting in a play, movie, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on overplay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overplay

Nglish: Translation of overplay for Spanish Speakers

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