un·​der·​tone | \ ˈən-dər-ˌtōn How to pronounce undertone (audio) \

Definition of undertone

1 : a low or subdued utterance or accompanying sound
2 : a quality (as of emotion) underlying the surface of an utterance or action
3 : a subdued color specifically : a color seen through and modifying another color

Examples of undertone in a Sentence

She commented in an undertone that the music was really not very good. The play is a comedy with dark undertones. The fabric is a rich brown color with undertones of red.
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Recent Examples on the Web

White is the New Black.’ While the shirt may reference the popular Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, or hint at a new fashion trend; some customers were outraged at the racial undertones associated with the graphic tee. Carson Kessler, Fortune, "Melania Trump's Jacket Is Just the Controversial Clothing by Zara. Here's a Timeline of the Rest," 22 June 2018 The beauty brand's much beloved Orgasm blush has become a favorite among makeup lovers everywhere, with fans frequently applauding the product's flattering pink-peach undertones. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Nars Created a Makeup Line Inspired by Their Orgasm Blush," 9 Apr. 2019 Since 2015, the #ultraHDfoundation released 40 shades for everyone’s unique skin tone understanding the difference between red and yellow undertones. Jillian Ruffo, PEOPLE.com, "How Kim Kardashian's Concealer Shade Range Compares to Kylie Jenner's and More Makeup Brands," 26 Mar. 2018 Flaunting’ has an undertone of disapproval, as though these women are flaunting their sexuality as much as the pregnancy itself. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "Get ready for the tabloid headlines about Meghan Markle “flaunting her baby bump”," 15 Oct. 2018 As the experts previously told Teen Vogue, finding the perfect red takes studying your skin's undertones. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Kiernan Shipka Wore Berry Red Lipstick," 8 Oct. 2018 Silva admits that finding the right shades and undertones was a lot of trial and error. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "We Put Beautyblender's New Bounce Liquid Foundation To The Test," 20 July 2018 Medium Skin: Go for an orangey shade such as CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipcolor in Hot ($6.50; at drugstores), which will reflect the yellow undertones in your skin. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "5 Tricky Beauty Techniques Made Easy," 12 Mar. 2012 Facebook, which has repeatedly stated that the political ad archive is a work in progress, has fought criticism that too many campaign ads slip through, while ads that have no political undertones are incorrectly flagged. Sheera Frenkel, New York Times, "Facebook and Twitter Expand Peek Into Who’s Behind Their Ads," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'undertone.' 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 undertone

1806, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for undertone

Last Updated

18 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for undertone

The first known use of undertone was in 1806

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More Definitions for undertone



English Language Learners Definition of undertone

: a low or quiet voice
: a quality, meaning, etc., that is present but not clear or obvious
: a color that you can see in small amounts


un·​der·​tone | \ ˈən-dər-ˌtōn How to pronounce undertone (audio) \

Kids Definition of undertone

1 : a low or quiet voice They spoke in undertones.
2 : a partly hidden feeling or meaning There was an undertone of anger in the answer.

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More from Merriam-Webster on undertone

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with undertone

Spanish Central: Translation of undertone

Nglish: Translation of undertone for Spanish Speakers

Comments on undertone

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


to mark by some ceremony or observation

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