Definition of overplay in English:

overplay

verb

[with object]
  • 1Give undue importance to; overemphasize.

    ‘he thinks the idea of a special relationship between sitter and artist is much overplayed’
    • ‘I think just about everybody - Guardian, Rutten, Okrent and the Times - is overplaying this issue.’
    • ‘That said, the rural-urban split should not be overplayed as the scale of pre-election intimidation doubtless served to distort the political process in the rural areas.’
    • ‘Their major claimed benefits may overplay the importance of sharing knowledge and expertise and underplay issues such as social conflict, cultural difference and opportunism.’
    • ‘While this may make the book sound light-hearted (and at times it is very witty) the references are always germane and are never overplayed, so that they open up debates to a broader audience without trivialising the issues.’
    • ‘The media has displayed utmost irresponsibility by overplaying the story.’
    • ‘The conclusion is unwarranted, and involves overplaying the disagreements and their importance while ignoring the basic unity of canonical and doctrinal decisions.’
    • ‘But some people have criticized the media for overplaying the story and thus feeding public panic.’
    • ‘However, the importance of the ICJ judgement has been dramatically overplayed by international commentators.’
    • ‘The director of the Edinburgh Film Festival said the film was influential but its overall importance was overplayed in Scotland.’
    • ‘With 83% of all viewing taking place on terrestrial channels, the threat of multi-channel TV, however, is often overplayed.’
    • ‘I do not think we have ever, at any stage, downplayed the risk to children, but it is important that we do not overplay the risk to children.’
    • ‘The reason, he suggested, was that news reports tend to overplay the importance of any particular piece of information.’
    • ‘I haven't looked into the money side of things but I think they have overplayed the amount of work needed to be done.’
    • ‘It's possible to overplay the importance of plotting.’
    • ‘It is difficult to overplay the importance of this kind of relationship for a child like Paul.’
    • ‘Having said all this, it is important not to overplay the Confucian card.’
    • ‘In Britain, the police have been criticised for overplaying the risk of such an event taking place here.’
    • ‘So I think they've way overplayed this and overstretched this issue.’
    • ‘A Home Office spokesman said the British government would ‘absolutely not’ accept that it was guilty of overplaying the size of the problem in the UK.’
    • ‘The chief problem with life-style, and the explanation of consumption upon which it rests, is that it overplays the importance of consumption and consumerism in people's lives.’
    overstate, overemphasize, overstress, overestimate, overvalue, magnify, amplify, aggrandize, inflate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Exaggerate the performance of (a dramatic role)
      ‘the uncontrollable urge of ham actors to overplay their parts’
      • ‘My only complaint was that there seemed to be a niggling hesitation in some performances and a tendency to overplay parts of the text.’
      • ‘Although the audience wants to buy into elements of his contested position of affairs, it has a hard time doing so when the actor overplays his lines.’
      • ‘He never overplays or goes for the cheap laugh, and thus makes his eccentric character oddly sympathetic.’
      • ‘Too many other bands either overplay their isolation or amplify their anger.’
      • ‘She never overplays her role nor underplays it - in essence, she was the perfect choice for this role and makes a stunning cinematic debut.’
      • ‘The cast, occasionally dominated by the presence of the house itself, never overplays.’
      • ‘His role is essential, as he's the counterpoint to the bookish and serious Ernesto, and it would be easy to overplay the oversexed Alberto.’
      • ‘No one overplays their role, and provide journeyman performances.’
      • ‘In overplaying their presence, the artists have lost touch with the basic truth of birth, its essential mystery.’
      • ‘It would be easy for an actor to mishandle any of these threads, to overplay key moments by slipping into self-indulgence.’
      • ‘A vice-president has ‘moments when his nerves give and he overplays his role’.’
      • ‘No longer did she need to exaggerate or overplay - she knew how to use the subtle expressions, the interplay of emotions in her face, to maximum effect.’
      • ‘Best of all, there is a solid cast of actors who rise to the occasion of the screenplay, never overplaying comic moments but clearly getting the absurdity of every turn.’
      • ‘This is another inexplicable effort by an actor to overplay a slow, strange character and teach everybody lessons.’
      • ‘An actor has to be creative, but he can underplay or overplay his role, so a director has to control that.’
      • ‘While she overplays her final sequence, her performance as a whole works to the movie's favor.’
      • ‘The band also played cohesively, embellishing but never overplaying their respective parts and always supporting the overall feel and purpose of each song.’
      • ‘A sparse script and real sensitivity from the actors, none of whom overplay their role, only adds further to the film's power.’
      • ‘He revels in his role as the big jerk, and overplays it to the point of caricature.’
      • ‘The rest of the cast either underplays their role or overplays it to the point of being far too cartoonish.’

Phrases

  • overplay one's hand

    • 1(in a card game) play or bet on one's hand with a mistaken optimism.

      • ‘Do not overplay your hand as this will rebound on you.’
      • ‘The young agent was so keen to serve the public interest that he overplayed his hand.’
      • ‘With the polls behind him, he went all out and yet again totally overplayed his hand.’
      • ‘Instead, he overplayed his hand and introduced doubts and inconsistencies with his failed dossiers.’
      • ‘They are rolling with the punches, hoping that the hard-liners will overplay their hand.’
      • ‘The author sometimes seems to overplay his hand.’
      • ‘To start, there's the danger of overplaying your hand.’
      • ‘A good magician, he explains, anticipates the way in which the audience thinks, never overplays his hand and works intelligently with the belief system of the people in front of him.’
      • ‘It is important to not overplay weaker hands that look good at a big table.’
      • ‘Overplaying your hand vs. a tight player is probably the easiest way to knock yourself out.’
    • 2Spoil one's chance of success through excessive confidence in one's position.

      ‘she chose to overplay her hand and lost the sympathy of those who could have saved her’
      • ‘It would appear that the Republicans totally overplayed their hand and the voters reacted accordingly.’
      • ‘With the polls behind him, he went all out and yet again totally overplayed his hand.’
      • ‘Yet within this rewarding social history, the authors occasionally overplay their hand.’
      • ‘She maintains her role with skill, extracting every ounce of humour without overplaying her hand and turning the comedy into pantomime.’
      • ‘The author sometimes seems to overplay his hand.’
      • ‘They have certainly overplayed their hand and oversold their achievements and performance.’
      • ‘Impotent observers of a totally unequal battle, we wondered how could anyone of such obvious intelligence have overplayed their hand so catastrophically.’
      • ‘Overplaying your hand vs. a tight player is probably the easiest way to knock yourself out.’
      • ‘It is now clearer than ever, after the 23 months of stagnation that followed his speech, that the Prime Minister overplayed his hand.’
      • ‘They are rolling with the punches, hoping that the hard-liners will overplay their hand.’
      • ‘Firefighters should beware the dangers of overplaying their hand.’
      • ‘A good magician, he explains, anticipates the way in which the audience thinks, never overplays his hand and works intelligently with the belief system of the people in front of him.’
      • ‘To start, there's the danger of overplaying your hand.’
      • ‘This was unwise and clumsy; having overplayed his hand, the chancellor was forced to back off.’
      • ‘The young agent was so keen to serve the public interest that he overplayed his hand.’
      • ‘Do not overplay your hand as this will rebound on you.’
      • ‘Instead, he overplayed his hand and introduced doubts and inconsistencies with his failed dossiers.’
      • ‘The barons, predictably, overplayed their hand and the king was soon able to ignore many of the Provisions.’
      • ‘But, again, on that issue they have been shown to overplay their hand.’
      • ‘It is important to not overplay weaker hands that look good at a big table.’

Pronunciation

overplay

/əʊvəˈpleɪ/