adjective Also low-keyed.

of reduced intensity; restrained; understated.
(of a photograph) having chiefly dark tones, usually with little tonal contrast (distinguished from high-key).

verb (used with object), low-keyed, low-key·ing.

to make or attempt to make low-key: to low-key the arms buildup.

Nearby words

  1. low-fi,
  2. low-grade,
  3. low-hanging fruit,
  4. low-impact,
  5. low-income,
  6. low-level,
  7. low-level language,
  8. low-level waste,
  9. low-life,
  10. low-loader

Origin of low-key

First recorded in 1890–95

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for low-key

British Dictionary definitions for low-key




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