View synonyms for overplay


[ oh-ver-pley ]

verb (used with object)

  1. 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.

  2. to put too much stress on the value or importance of:

    A charitable biographer had overplayed the man's piety and benevolence.

  3. Cards. to overestimate the strength of (the cards in one's hand) with consequent loss.
  4. Golf. to hit (the ball) past the putting green.
  5. Archaic. outplay.

verb (used without object)

  1. to exaggerate one's part, an effect, etc.; overact:

    Without a firm director she invariably overplays.


/ ˌəʊvəˈpleɪ /


  1. tr to exaggerate the importance of
  2. another word for overact
  3. overplay one's hand
    to overestimate the worth or strength of one's position

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Word History and Origins

Origin of overplay1

First recorded in 1640–50; over- + play

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Example Sentences

I wasn’t quite sure what a spy ought to wear, really, whether you should underplay it or overplay it.

One of the reasons the United States ended up with this messy pullout is because the Pentagon overplayed its hand in 2009.

Democrats can overplay their hand by stoking outrage in their supporters and end up being lambasted for being wrong or exaggerating.

If defenders overplay Gilgeous-Alexander in his inevitable pursuit of the rim, he is one of the league’s foremost midrange artists because of his deceleration ability.

The coverage was pretty normal, they weren’t overplaying anybody, and with that said we were scoring some goals.

He is counting on his opponents to overplay their hand, and a forgiving public to let him do his job as governor.

Republicans here have their work cut-out, but there is always the possibility that the Democrats will overplay their hand.

Wells transformed old cheating and heart songs into soul music by resisting the overplay of emotion, writes singer Laura Cantrell.

The main hope for the Have Nots is a Republican tendency to overplay their hand.

“Obama has to be careful not to overplay this as something he did personally,” says Feehery.

Even with such a negligible quantity as a deserted husband, it is a mistake to overplay the part.

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.

We scold it caressingly, as one reproves the overplay of a gracious child.

"Some day, though, he'll overplay his game," Benito prophesied.