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 Also, there is a chance that Democrats may overplay their hand on Kavanaugh. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Kavanaugh is short of votes, but fate hinges on upcoming testimony," 25 Sep. 2018 Grace had overplayed her hand in having him sacked, and the army rolled into Harare. The Economist, "Obituary: Robert Mugabe died on September 6th," 12 Sep. 2019 With a safety’s support allowing him to overplay the out route, the corner made a terrific play to snag the ball near the line. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Mistake-filled Chargers loss seems oh-so-familiar," 15 Sep. 2019 But by overplaying his hand, Mr Iglesias will attract most of the opprobrium. The Economist, "Pedro Sánchez fails to form a coalition in Spain," 25 July 2019 But there’s lots of businesses for which that kind of risk is overplayed. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "The short but destructive history of mass layoffs," 12 July 2019 The most notable, Purdue Pharma, the Sackler-family owned maker of OxyContin, has been found guilty of downplaying the risks and overplaying the effectiveness of opioids, contributing to an epidemic of overprescription and diversion. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "The marketing practices that worsened America’s opioid epidemic are making their way overseas," 24 Aug. 2019 Trump’s tweets about Democratic congresswomen were absurdly crass, but Democrats should be careful about overplaying the race card and vilifying all the president’s supporters, writes John Kass. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Daywatch: Lightfoot gets early signature legislative wins, police investigating after viral video shows girl’s beating and other things to know to start your day," 25 July 2019 Also returning is the original cast member Mitchell Jarvis, who is back overplaying the narrator, Lonny — a puckish employee of the Bourbon Room, the rock club where most of the action takes place. New York Times, "Review: ‘Rock of Ages’ Returns, Scaled Down but Big Hair Intact," 4 July 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.

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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

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for overplay

The first known use of overplay was in 1767

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overplay

Nglish: Translation of overplay for Spanish Speakers

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