- to exaggerate or overemphasize (one's role in a play, an emotion, an effect, etc.): The young actor overplayed Hamlet shamelessly. The director of the movie had overplayed the pathos.
- to put too much stress on the value or importance of: A charitable biographer had overplayed the man's piety and benevolence.
- Cards. to overestimate the strength of (the cards in one's hand) with consequent loss.
- Golf. to hit (the ball) past the putting green.
- Archaic. outplay.
- to exaggerate one's part, an effect, etc.; overact: Without a firm director she invariably overplays.
Origin of overplay
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for overplay
He is counting on his opponents to overplay their hand, and a forgiving public to let him do his job as governor.Clinton and Christie: Let The Mud-Slinging Start
January 22, 2014
Republicans here have their work cut-out, but there is always the possibility that the Democrats will overplay their hand.Stuffy Old Men: Region, Religion, Race and Class Define and Buffet GOP
March 31, 2013
Wells transformed old cheating and heart songs into soul music by resisting the overplay of emotion, writes singer Laura Cantrell.Kitty Wells, The Girl Singer Who Became Country’s Queen
July 18, 2012
The main hope for the Have Nots is a Republican tendency to overplay their hand.David's Book Club: The Age of Austerity
February 21, 2012
“Obama has to be careful not to overplay this as something he did personally,” says Feehery.The GOP's Bin Laden Jitters
May 2, 2011
We scold it caressingly, as one reproves the overplay of a gracious child.From the Oak to the Olive
Julia Ward Howe
"Some day, though, he'll overplay his game," Benito prophesied.Port O' Gold
Louis John Stellman
She was not fool enough to overplay her hand, so her greeting was still disdainful, but when he tarried she did not send him away.The Roof Tree
Charles Neville Buck
Even with such a negligible quantity as a deserted husband, it is a mistake to overplay the part.The Far Horizon
- (tr) to exaggerate the importance of
- another word for overact
- overplay one's hand to overestimate the worth or strength of one's position
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
Word Origin and History for overplay
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper