- a low or subdued tone: to speak in undertones.
- an unobtrusive or background sound: an undertone of static from the receiver.
- an underlying quality or element; undercurrent: There was an undertone of regret in his refusal.
- a subdued color; a color modified by an underlying color.
Origin of undertone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for undertone
I heard then a sigh next to me that had an undertone not unlike a snarl.Remembering Nora Ephron as Our Dorothy Parker, but More
June 27, 2012
The undertone riffs off the “un-American” implications of the 2008 campaign directed at then-Sen.They Still Think He's Muslim
June 12, 2009
A chattering and hurrying of people could be heard as an undertone.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
"I will go with you quietly," he said to them, in an undertone.
They had been speaking in an undertone, standing together at a window, apart from the rest.
"That's Mrs. Wimby's husband," said the judge in an undertone.The Gentleman From Indiana
Then, knowing Nani's history, he related it in an undertone.The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete
- a quiet or hushed tone of voice
- an underlying tone or suggestion in words or actionshis offer has undertones of dishonesty
- a pale or subdued colour
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 undertone
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper