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 The site's sudden appearance on maps made public by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management raises concerns among some in the community, who say environmental officials have consistently underplayed the health risks. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "Second source of toxic chemicals in Franklin known for decades, but borders still unclear," 2 Dec. 2019 Crute and Simnett are both likably underplaying their parts in a series in which most of the contemporaries are aggressively hamming it up. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Daybreak': TV Review," 23 Oct. 2019 If overplayed, the proceedings can seem crude; if underplayed, dull. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Lyric Opera review: A wickedly funny ‘Barber of Seville’ begins season," 29 Sep. 2019 Kennedy was angry at the newspaper’s editorials about impropriety in his administration, complaining that the newspaper underplayed similar behavior in the Eisenhower administration. Paul Farhi, Washington Post, "Trump instructs federal agencies to cancel Washington Post and New York Times subscriptions," 24 Oct. 2019 Its connection to the overall Batman mythology is deliberately underplayed—the movie is more interested in making us squirm at Arthur’s pathetic attempts at standup comedy. Tom Gliatto, PEOPLE.com, "Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix Isn't Clowning Around as the Terrifying Batman Villain," 2 Oct. 2019 His erstwhile sweetheart Margo is deftly underplayed by Kelly Rosales, who contributes engaging vocals. Contrasting the gloomy atmosphere are some wild and woolly production numbers staged by Lorton and co-choreographer Heather Holt-Smith. Tom Titus, Daily Pilot, "On Theater: ‘Bright Star’ flickers at the GEM," 1 Oct. 2019 Skip to main content Oklahoma lawyers argued Johnson & Johnson aggressively marketed opioids that overstated their effectiveness and underplayed the addiction risk. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "What risks lie ahead for Johnson & Johnson after $572M opioid ruling?," 26 Aug. 2019 Crudup underplays well in what’s mostly a thankless role, while Quinn — who also sings the song heard over the end credits — shines in conveying Grace’s own stricken journey. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Williams and Moore face off in melodramatic ‘After the Wedding’," 22 Aug. 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for underplay

Last Updated

24 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Underplay.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underplay. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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How to pronounce underplay (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of underplay

: to make (something) seem less important than it actually is : to give too little attention to (something)
disapproving : to show too little emotion when acting in a play, movie, etc.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with underplay

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good-natured easy friendliness

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