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 worst case is needing to overplay Khudobin because the Stars’ playoff position is in peril. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Ready or not, Jake Oettinger gets introduced to the NHL this season. How will the Stars’ rookie goalie handle it?," 24 Dec. 2020 Medical experts have stressed that the news media should not overplay isolated incidents of allergic reactions, given that they are expected to happen as hundreds of thousands of front line workers receive the vaccine. Oliver Darcy, CNN, "Tucker Carlson fans flames of vaccine skepticism, telling Fox News viewers to be nervous about 'glitzy' rollout," 17 Dec. 2020 There’s also the danger that in continuing to ignore an EU ultimatum, the holdouts overplay their hand. Marek Strzelecki, Bloomberg.com, "Optimism on EU Budget Deal Clouded by Hungarian, Polish Demands," 8 Dec. 2020 Ericka Sines, the brashest in the clan, doesn’t overplay what could be a groaningly broad caricature. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "IceHouse ‘Miracle’ is a comic yet sensitive holiday gift | Review," 15 Nov. 2020 Saints coach Sean Payton said one of the challenges coming into the week was resisting the urge to overplay Thomas, who typically is on the field for the overwhelming majority of the Saints offensive snaps. Luke Johnson, NOLA.com, "Saints Michael Thomas returns, addresses his team discipline and trade rumors," 8 Nov. 2020 Cobham-Hervey, who, like Reddy, is Australian, is a quicksilver actor who doesn’t overplay the role’s iconic trappings. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, "From ‘I Am Woman’ to ‘Get on Up’: Movies that hit the right note," 11 Sep. 2020 It’s always possible that Trump will overplay his hand on law and order. Bret Stephens New York Times, Star Tribune, "Democrats, progressives, Biden need to disavow violent extremists on the left," 1 Sep. 2020 But the truth is that the deal may prove little more than a short-term measure—and Russia, the country that, more than any other, provoked the standoff, may end up looking like a gambler who greatly overplayed his hand. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "How the Russian-Saudi Oil War Went Awry—for Putin Most of All," 15 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for overplay

Time Traveler

The first known use of overplay was in 1767

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Statistics for overplay

Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overplay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overplay. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for overplay


How to pronounce overplay (audio)

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

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Nglish: Translation of overplay for Spanish Speakers

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