un·der·tone | \ ˈən-dər-ˌtōn \

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

Trump has used tough rhetoric on immigration to motivate his political base at home, at times using racial or ethnic undertones. Washington Post, "Trump stands by ‘culture’ criticism of European immigration," 13 July 2018 Trump has used tough rhetoric on immigration to motivate his political base at home, at times using racial or ethnic undertones. Fox News, "Trump stands by 'culture' criticism of European immigration," 13 July 2018 This led to the introduction of a new undertone, golden, which is suitable for olive skin tones. refinery29.com, "What We Really Think Of Tarte's New Darker Foundations And Concealers," 31 May 2018 There are six undertone families including cool, cool rosy, neutral, warm, warm peach, and warm olive. Kathleen Hou, The Cut, "Dior Launches 40 Shades of Foundation," 25 May 2018 Pay attention to the undertone, a secondary color that showcases itself such as a beige that shows a hint of pink. Brian Sodoma, azcentral, "Choosing the right paint colors before you move into your new home," 10 May 2018 Others focused on the religious undertones of the song. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Watch: Ariana Grande declares 'God is a Woman' in new song and Twitter is worshipping it," 13 July 2018 There’s definitely that undertone in a lot of the Alien movies about messing with things and paying the price, albeit more often because of capitalism than curiosity. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "26 arguments for and against opening Egypt’s new mystery sarcophagus," 11 July 2018 Sunday’s announcement that James was joining the Lakers wasn’t met with quite the same angry undertones in Cleveland that defined his first departure in 2010, though. Alex Wong, The Atlantic, "What’s Different About LeBron’s Move to the Lakers," 4 July 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

7 Sep 2018

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 \

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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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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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