un·​der·​play | \ ˌən-dər-ˈplā How to pronounce underplay (audio) \
underplayed; underplaying; underplays

Definition of underplay

intransitive verb

: to play a role with subdued force

transitive verb

1 : to act or present (a role, a scene, etc.) with restraint : play down
2 : to play a card lower than (a held high card)

Examples of underplay in a Sentence

Don't underplay the importance of exercise. I thought she underplayed her character.
Recent Examples on the Web Pro-life activists backing the amendment have used that technicality to underplay the possibility of an outright ban. Joel Mathis, The Week, 23 July 2022 The students Cruzvergara work with often underplay their non-job experiences. Fortune, 1 June 2022 Williams added that social media can also underplay the seriousness of many procedures. NBC News, 27 Apr. 2022 The rest of Joanna’s coworkers are tormentors, banal ones, with several actors making the strange choice to somewhat underplay their roles, allowing scenes to sag while Bayer vamps. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 26 Apr. 2022 But to look at the current race to undermine reproductive freedom and the massive resistance to the existence of LGBTQ people as a legislative campaign is, unfortunately, to underplay the aims of the right. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, 6 Apr. 2022 Smit-McPhee, who first gained notice in 2009's The Road, was well served by his instinct to underplay Peter — a shy teenager who becomes an object of spite for a toxic cowboy (Benedict Cumberbatch) running a ranch in rural Montana in the 1920s. Mary Sollosi, EW.com, 15 Oct. 2021 It’s not a network decision to underplay celebrity presence. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 30 June 2021 The Quinnipiac poll might actually underplay the size of belief in aliens. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 5 June 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underplay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of underplay

1833, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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The first known use of underplay was in 1833

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Underplay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underplay. Accessed 7 Aug. 2022.

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