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

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 Her reactions, while never overplayed, become a main portal in understanding the family dynamics. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "'The Humans' at the Ahmanson: Quite possibly the best cast of actors you can see anywhere," 21 June 2018 This is a terrific cast, and Day has a blast overplaying his psychopath, although a little goes a long way. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Busy 'Hotel Artemis' isn't worth visiting," 7 June 2018 Some pirates overplay their roles, ruining the comedy by trying too hard. Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader, "After 139 years, Pirates of Penzance is still a satisfying combination of sweet and salty," 27 June 2018 Are outspoken liberals overplaying their hand and hurting red-state Dems in the process, POLITICO asks. NBC News, "First Read's Morning Clips: Comparing states' Senate and presidential votes," 26 June 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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Phrases Related to overplay

overplay one's cards

overplay one's hand

Statistics for overplay

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overplay

The first known use of overplay was in 1767

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More Definitions for overplay



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.

Comments on overplay

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