- 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.
- to act or work as an understudy.
- a performer who learns the role of another in order to serve as a replacement if necessary.
Origin of understudy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for understudy
Some are now calling DSK's faux pas “a kiss of death” for Aubry as it makes her seem like no more than his understudy.DSK: the Fallout Continues
September 20, 2011
Since then the younger son, James, has stepped forward to understudy.News Corp. After Rupert
July 21, 2011
From Katie Holmes to Anne Hathaway, see our picks for her understudy.Prince William and Kate Middleton: The Movie
January 31, 2011
He booked his first audition for understudy in the Tony-award-winning Thoroughly Modern Millie.Glee's New Villain
September 20, 2010
But an understudy was to play her part that night and she had no excuse.The Christian
And the maid will leave us before the month is over and I shall be her understudy.The Gorgeous Girl
She's an understudy, and her principal might fall ill--or something.Nobody
Louis Joseph Vance
Then he turned, roaring: 'Vere is Miss Lawrence's understudy?Despair's Last Journey
David Christie Murray
Through the two acts which followed, the understudy kept it up.The Lowest Rung
- (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)
- 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 understudy
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper