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’
    • ‘In Britain, the police have been criticised for overplaying the risk of such an event taking place here.’
    • ‘With 83% of all viewing taking place on terrestrial channels, the threat of multi-channel TV, however, is often overplayed.’
    • ‘I think just about everybody - Guardian, Rutten, Okrent and the Times - is overplaying this issue.’
    • ‘I haven't looked into the money side of things but I think they have overplayed the amount of work needed to be done.’
    • ‘Their major claimed benefits may overplay the importance of sharing knowledge and expertise and underplay issues such as social conflict, cultural difference and opportunism.’
    • ‘The media has displayed utmost irresponsibility by overplaying the story.’
    • ‘Having said all this, it is important not to overplay the Confucian card.’
    • ‘So I think they've way overplayed this and overstretched this issue.’
    • ‘The director of the Edinburgh Film Festival said the film was influential but its overall importance was overplayed in Scotland.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But some people have criticized the media for overplaying the story and thus feeding public panic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's possible to overplay the importance of plotting.’
    • ‘The reason, he suggested, was that news reports tend to overplay the importance of any particular piece of information.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, the importance of the ICJ judgement has been dramatically overplayed by international commentators.’
    • ‘It is difficult to overplay the importance of this kind of relationship for a child like Paul.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The conclusion is unwarranted, and involves overplaying the disagreements and their importance while ignoring the basic unity of canonical and doctrinal decisions.’
    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’
      • ‘A sparse script and real sensitivity from the actors, none of whom overplay their role, only adds further to the film's power.’
      • ‘It would be easy for an actor to mishandle any of these threads, to overplay key moments by slipping into self-indulgence.’
      • ‘The cast, occasionally dominated by the presence of the house itself, never overplays.’
      • ‘While she overplays her final sequence, her performance as a whole works to the movie's favor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My only complaint was that there seemed to be a niggling hesitation in some performances and a tendency to overplay parts of the text.’
      • ‘The rest of the cast either underplays their role or overplays it to the point of being far too cartoonish.’
      • ‘She never overplays her role nor underplays it - in essence, she was the perfect choice for this role and makes a stunning cinematic debut.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He revels in his role as the big jerk, and overplays it to the point of caricature.’
      • ‘A vice-president has ‘moments when his nerves give and he overplays his role’.’
      • ‘He never overplays or goes for the cheap laugh, and thus makes his eccentric character oddly sympathetic.’
      • ‘The band also played cohesively, embellishing but never overplaying their respective parts and always supporting the overall feel and purpose of each song.’
      • ‘Too many other bands either overplay their isolation or amplify their anger.’
      • ‘In overplaying their presence, the artists have lost touch with the basic truth of birth, its essential mystery.’
      • ‘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.’

Phrases

  • overplay one's hand

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

      • ‘The author sometimes seems to overplay his hand.’
      • ‘Do not overplay your hand as this will rebound on you.’
      • ‘With the polls behind him, he went all out and yet again totally overplayed his hand.’
      • ‘It is important to not overplay weaker hands that look good at a big table.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Instead, he overplayed his hand and introduced doubts and inconsistencies with his failed dossiers.’
      • ‘To start, there's the danger of overplaying your hand.’
      • ‘Overplaying your hand vs. a tight player is probably the easiest way to knock yourself out.’
      • ‘The young agent was so keen to serve the public interest that he overplayed his hand.’
      • ‘They are rolling with the punches, hoping that the hard-liners will overplay their hand.’
    • 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’
      • ‘Do not overplay your hand as this will rebound on you.’
      • ‘To start, there's the danger of overplaying your hand.’
      • ‘Overplaying your hand vs. a tight player is probably the easiest way to knock yourself out.’
      • ‘She maintains her role with skill, extracting every ounce of humour without overplaying her hand and turning the comedy into pantomime.’
      • ‘It is now clearer than ever, after the 23 months of stagnation that followed his speech, that the Prime Minister overplayed his hand.’
      • ‘Impotent observers of a totally unequal battle, we wondered how could anyone of such obvious intelligence have overplayed their hand so catastrophically.’
      • ‘It would appear that the Republicans totally overplayed their hand and the voters reacted accordingly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They are rolling with the punches, hoping that the hard-liners will overplay their hand.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Firefighters should beware the dangers of overplaying their hand.’
      • ‘They have certainly overplayed their hand and oversold their achievements and performance.’
      • ‘Instead, he overplayed his hand and introduced doubts and inconsistencies with his failed dossiers.’
      • ‘The young agent was so keen to serve the public interest that he overplayed his hand.’
      • ‘This was unwise and clumsy; having overplayed his hand, the chancellor was forced to back off.’
      • ‘The barons, predictably, overplayed their hand and the king was soon able to ignore many of the Provisions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The author sometimes seems to overplay his hand.’

Pronunciation

overplay

/əʊvəˈpleɪ/