- of reduced intensity; restrained; understated.
- (of a photograph) having chiefly dark tones, usually with little tonal contrast (distinguished from high-key).
- to make or attempt to make low-key: to low-key the arms buildup.
Origin of low-key
First recorded in 1890–95
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for low-key
Later that night, this low-key man went out on stage with otherworldly energy.When I Met Robin Williams in Afghanistan
August 20, 2014
In person, Ligety is fairly humble, and low-key—almost enigmatic.The Can't-Miss Sochi Showdown: Bode Miller And Ted Ligety
February 9, 2014
This is where having a low-key character like Deborah Samson, rather than, say, George Washington, was really helpful.The Cross-Dressing Revolutionary: Alex Myers’ New Novel
February 4, 2014
Instead, the star will celebrate tonight with a low-key dinner at home.Justin Bieber Faces Deportation; NBC Moves Emmy Awards to Monday
January 29, 2014
Besides, her position dictated a discreet, low-key approach.
She dressed well, and low-key, and you could tell how smart she was just by looking at her.Little Brother
- having a low intensity or tone
- restrained, subdued, or understated
- (of a photograph, painting, etc) having a predominance of dark grey tones or dark colours with few highlightsCompare high-key
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012