[ uhn-der-pley, uhn-der-pley ]
See synonyms for underplay on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to act (a part) sketchily.

  2. to act subtly and restrainedly.

  1. to understate or de-emphasize; downplay: The ambassador underplayed his role in the peace negotiations.

verb (used without object)
  1. to leave out of one's acting all subtlety and enriching detail.

  2. to achieve an effect in acting with a minimum of emphasis.

Origin of underplay

First recorded in 1725–35; under- + play

Words Nearby underplay

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use underplay in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for underplay


/ (ˌʌndəˈpleɪ) /

  1. to play (a role) with restraint or subtlety

  2. to achieve (an effect) by deliberate lack of emphasis

  1. (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