[ uhn-der-pley, uhn-der-pley ]
/ ˌʌn dərˈpleɪ, ˈʌn dərˌpleɪ /

verb (used with object)

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.

verb (used without object)

to leave out of one's acting all subtlety and enriching detail.
to achieve an effect in acting with a minimum of emphasis.

Origin of underplay

First recorded in 1725–35; under- + play
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for underplay

British Dictionary definitions for underplay


/ (ˌʌndəˈpleɪ) /


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