[ uhn-der-stuhd-ee ]
/ ˈʌn dərˌstʌd i /

verb (used with object), un·der·stud·ied, un·der·stud·y·ing.

to learn (a role) in order to replace the regular actor or actress when necessary.
to act as understudy to (an actor or actress): to understudy the lead.

verb (used without object), un·der·stud·ied, un·der·stud·y·ing.

to act or work as an understudy.

noun, plural un·der·stud·ies.

a performer who learns the role of another in order to serve as a replacement if necessary.

Origin of understudy

First recorded in 1870–75; under- + study
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for under-study

British Dictionary definitions for under-study


/ (ˈʌndəˌstʌdɪ) /

verb -studies, -studying or -studied

(tr) to study (a role or part) so as to be able to replace the usual actor or actress if necessary
to act as understudy to (an actor or actress)

noun plural -studies

an actor or actress who studies a part so as to be able to replace the usual actor or actress if necessary
anyone who is trained to take the place of another in case of need
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 under-study



also under-study, 1852, in the theatrical sense, from under + study (v.). The noun is attested from 1848, translating Italian supplimento.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper