over·​play | \ˌō-vər-ˈplā \
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

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 On the other hand, Democrats are in danger of overplaying their hand. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Americans Want an Immigration Deal," 10 July 2018 With so many interested teams and the unique opportunity of adding one of the best young sluggers in the game, the Orioles should maximize their return while not overplaying their hand. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Haudricourt: Brewers looking to go big with Manny Machado, who is an absolutely perfect fit," 13 July 2018 The rejuvenation of the health care debate could prompt a similar scenario this year just before the midterms if Democrats overplay their hand. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Republicans may have won the optics war on Congress' summer recess fight," 9 June 2018 The problem was almost that its plan to exploit Croatia’s lack of pace at the back was too successful and England overplayed its hand. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "Croatia's Character, Resiliency on Full Display in Shocking Run to World Cup Final," 11 July 2018 But Leo suggested that Democrats are overplaying their hand. Maggie Haberman, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump giving a fresh look to Hardiman for Supreme Court," 8 July 2018 This is the downside of postmodern productions of plays that have their postmodern radicalism already baked into the script, and it is made worse when they are slightly overplayed. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "'We’re Gonna Be Okay': Upending the idea of families during the Cuban missile crisis," 30 Jan. 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

4 Dec 2018

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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

: 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

Comments on overplay

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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