- 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
- 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
Word Origin and History for low key
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper