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 There are increasing real time indications of a political undertone to the fight against Covid-19. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 7 July 2021 The shade is wildly different than the platinums, yellows, and strawberries she's worn in the past — this one's got very subtle dimension and just a hint of a rose gold undertone. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, 20 May 2021 Some entrepreneurs simply want to sell a handbook of powerful tools and tips, with the undertone of the book advertising their product. Stephanie Burns, Forbes, 17 June 2021 The hydrating and lightweight, buildable formula comes in 40 shades with special attention to skin tone and undertone. Nadia Ebrahim, refinery29.com, 6 May 2021 Each contour shade and undertone was designed to look ultra-natural and flattering in daylight. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, 2 June 2021 And yet, underneath the soothing calmness with which Miriam's mother bathes the family, a sharper, more violent undertone rises to the surface over the course of this summer. Ashley Leath, Country Living, 1 June 2021 With a firm, succulent texture and a mildly spicy undertone, scapes are vegetable and aromatic all in one. New York Times, 17 May 2021 The noise of the news comes crashing into our homes, adding the odd, often unwanted undertone of symbolism to our most private domestic dramas. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 17 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for undertone

Time Traveler

The first known use of undertone was in 1806

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Statistics for undertone

Last Updated

13 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Undertone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undertone. Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on undertone

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for undertone

Nglish: Translation of undertone for Spanish Speakers


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