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 pedigree part of this plan has already been overplayed. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "Kevin Stefanski, new Cleveland Browns coach, somewhere between a savior and a second choice," 12 Jan. 2020 Helme himself apologized much later Monday, blaming media for overplaying his comments. BostonGlobe.com, "Helme’s anti-immigrant Estonian Conservative People’s Party, or EKRE, emerged from a March election as Estonia’s third-largest party.," 18 Dec. 2019 There’s a real skill to it, without overplaying your hand. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Peter Dinklage Is Still Punk Rock," 8 Dec. 2019 Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has stressed that reports over Lionel Messi's commitment to the club have been overplayed following revelations about his contract at Camp Nou. SI.com, "Ernesto Valverde Discusses Lionel Messi's Barcelona Future After That Interview," 14 Sep. 2019 Wright overplays the run, safety Hill drifted too far right and can’t catch up and just like that, the game is tied. oregonlive, "Seattle Seahawks’ sloppy effort results in a damaging loss to the Arizona Cardinals: Live updates recap, score, stats and more," 22 Dec. 2019 Despite these stresses, Pesci never overplays the indignity of it all. New York Times, "The Restrained Genius of a Joe Pesci Performance," 6 Nov. 2019 For Democrats, though impeachment carries risks — potentially grave ones, if they are perceived as overplaying their hand — the partisan logic of holding hearings and dumping something in the lap of the Senate is at least arguable. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "You Can’t Ignore Politics in Impeachment," 11 Oct. 2019 But, of course, Trump overplayed his hand by falsely claiming drug needles on San Francisco streets are washing into the ocean. Willie Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Trump was right about SF homeless, of course. Then he blew it," 21 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of overplay

1767, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overplay

Time Traveler for overplay

Time Traveler

The first known use of overplay was in 1767

See more words from the same year

Statistics for overplay

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Overplay.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overplay. Accessed 17 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overplay

Nglish: Translation of overplay for Spanish Speakers

Comments on overplay

What made you want to look up overplay? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!