to act (a part) sketchily.
to act subtly and restrainedly.
to understate or de-emphasize; downplay: The ambassador underplayed his role in the peace negotiations.
to leave out of one's acting all subtlety and enriching detail.
to achieve an effect in acting with a minimum of emphasis.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use underplay in a sentence
The manufacturers’ websites underplayed the benefits of breastfeeding and overstated its challenges.Breastfeeding Is Tough: New Research Shows How To Make It More Manageable | LGBTQ-Editor | October 19, 2021 | No Straight News
There were other considerations, and I don’t want to underplay the logistical challenges posed by the pandemic.Philip Guston’s art speaks to our present moment. We shouldn’t have to wait to see it. | Sebastian Smee | January 14, 2021 | Washington Post
One of Smith's biggest internal challenges is a perception that he long underplayed the severity of the investigation — presenting it as a relatively minor accounting problem.Billionaire philanthropist Robert Smith's tax fraud roils Vista Equity | Dan Primack | October 16, 2020 | Axios
I won’t underplay the depth and complexity of California’s challenges.
These statements mark a shift for public bodies that, for decades, have underplayed health research on social issues.Racism used to be considered a US public health issue until Nixon interfered | Olivia Goldhill | August 1, 2020 | Quartz
What she did need to worry about was trying to underplay her book in view of the attention it drew.Thank You, Elizabeth Wurtzel: ‘Prozac Nation’ Turns 20 | Nicolaus Mills | July 31, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
To say that this is an unusual moment would be to underplay how unique it really is.
Unknown forces are all the time engaged in a mystic underplay which is the real action of the piece.August Strindberg, the Spirit of Revolt | L. (Lizzy) Lind-af-Hageby
Especially with a purple speech like that; you've simply got to learn to underplay.My Fair Planet | Evelyn E. Smith
British Dictionary definitions for underplay
to play (a role) with restraint or subtlety
to achieve (an effect) by deliberate lack of emphasis
(intr) cards to lead or follow suit with a lower card when holding a higher one
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