undertone

noun
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

The racial undertones were difficult to miss: The imagery of black players attacking white fans served as a kind of racial pornography that had many openly opining about the NBA’s ruin. Jemele Hill, The Atlantic, "The Turbulent Journey of Metta World Peace," 5 June 2019 Even Rienda concedes that the vegan label can have a vaguely aggressive, judgmental undertone, particularly when it’s applied to fashion. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Vegan Fashion Week Is Coming to L.A.—And It’s About a Lot More Than Eco Leather and Faux Fur," 14 Jan. 2019 Taraji has a yellow undertone and in her trailer, the lights are fluorescent. Janell Hickman, Allure, "Taraji P. Henson's Makeup Artist, Ashunta Sheriff, Had the Perfect Response for Trolls Who Questioned Her Talent," 25 Aug. 2018 After filing the patent and bringing the idea to Milton Bradley, design firm owner Reyn Guyer feared the concern over the game’s undertones meant it would never be released. Michael Waters, Smithsonian, "When Twister Was Too Risqué For America," 10 July 2019 The name evokes deep ocean waters; the hue is a deep blue with green undertones. Elizabeth Mayhew, Twin Cities, "Surfboard Yellow, Gentleman’s Gray, Mizzle: How do paint companies name their hues?," 6 July 2019 The name evokes deep ocean waters; the hue is a deep blue with green undertones. Elizabeth Mayhew, Washington Post, "Surfboard Yellow, Gentleman’s Gray, Mizzle: How do paint companies name their hues?," 25 June 2019 So some people have eschewed that word in favor of alternatives with more respectable undertones. Time, "Was Stonewall a Riot, an Uprising or a Rebellion?," 24 June 2019 For olive and dark skin tones, pick a bronzer with orange undertones. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "Here's Exactly How You Should Apply Bronzer," 30 Jan. 2019

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

10 Aug 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

undertone

noun

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

undertone

noun
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

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