Definition of low-key in English:


(also low-keyed)


  • 1Not elaborate, showy, or intensive; modest or restrained.

    ‘their marriage was a very quiet, low-key affair’
    • ‘The celebrations are expected to be modest and low-key, a reflection of the falling economic fortunes of the territory.’
    • ‘The transfer, which gives Iraqis official control over their own destiny once again, was a low-key affair, taking place here in the presence of just a few dozen people.’
    • ‘I thought they liked to keep commentary a low-key affair in Mexico, Jim?’
    • ‘Then again, maybe it won't… today's launch is very much a low-key affair.’
    • ‘Instead it can offer a relaxed and low-key environment that feels like it isn't trying too hard.’
    • ‘Given who we are, our national day should be laid-back, low-key, and - yes - ambivalent about our progress.’
    • ‘Burley preached possession but his low-key, modest personality encouraged supporters to give others the credit.’
    • ‘If the news conference to announce the clash was anything to go by, it could be a low-key affair.’
    • ‘But those who expect a low-key industry affair will be in for a surprise.’
    • ‘The Saints have finished as runners-up, a position they were assured of before this match was played, so the contest was a low-keyed affair.’
    • ‘After glittering premieres in London and Leeds, this was a much more low-key affair as the cinema only seats 250 people, so invitations were strictly limited.’
    • ‘This giant of a man was intellectual, soft-spoken, reserved, yet dedicated; he exuded a low-key intensity.’
    • ‘It was such a low-key affair that even the bride didn't know.’
    • ‘During the communist era, Christmas in Budapest was a low-key affair, often celebrated clandestinely.’
    • ‘It's in keeping with her wish to make this event a low-key affair.’
    • ‘These elections traditionally have been low-key affairs.’
    • ‘I, for one, am quite ready for a pleasingly intimate and low-key affair.’
    • ‘There definitely is some virtue in keeping the affair low-key, in not raising the level of expectation, for in case of failure, nobody accuses you of bragging.’
    • ‘On the contrary, it was clear that they enjoyed a modest, low-key life-style.’
    • ‘We are trying to home in on the talent, focus on the best stories, and we try to be low-key and modest about our role.’
    restrained, modest, understated, muted, subtle, quiet, low-profile, inconspicuous, unostentatious, unobtrusive, discreet, circumspect, played-down, toned-down, self-effacing, relaxed, downbeat, easy-going, modulated, softened
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    1. 1.1Photography Art Having a predominance of dark or muted tones.
      ‘landscape is represented in a low-key palette of blue’