Definition of undertone in English:



  • 1A subdued or muted tone of sound or colour.

    ‘they were talking in undertones’
    • ‘His normal tone was destroyed by a scratchy undertone.’
    • ‘Some shades have yellow or brown specks in them, others have an undertone of blue or purple or even black.’
    • ‘Available in a bright blue with purple undertones, this plant is a show stopper when mass planted.’
    • ‘The foliage is a striking greyish-green with purple undertones and the small, pretty flowers are vivid pink.’
    • ‘The sounds of clinking glasses, shouting voices with the undertones of murmuring conversation, and the flickering of flame radiated from the mucky place.’
    • ‘My skin tone is fair with a pink undertone and very red cheeks.’
    • ‘In general, when choosing a colour, opt for neutrals with bluish undertones or softer pinks.’
    • ‘Eyes ablaze, her mother murmured in harsh undertones.’
    • ‘The quality of the film is as good as can be expected from any DVD from the early '90s. There was little to no grain in the color and the flesh tones lacked any unpleasant undertones.’
    • ‘Go for the cool kit if your skin has blue undertones - royal blue, vivid purple, and hot pink look good on you.’
    • ‘The hue contains warm yellow undertones that create a sunlit ambience.’
    • ‘The skin tones in several scenes either contained orange undertones, or were extremely washed out.’
    • ‘This is a deep red colour with earthy undertones.’
    • ‘Oh no, Selena, it brings out the yellow undertones in you complexion far too much.’
    • ‘If you have cool skin tones (blue undertones in your skin), silver would really bring out your beauty.’
    • ‘In some scenes, there were slight orange undertones to the flesh tones; this may have been the result of a low budget production and the lighting used during the filming, but it was not attractive.’
    • ‘‘Mom,’ I said in an undertone, my throat completely dry.’
    • ‘It was a sound akin to a cat's purr, but held undertones of a lion's growl.’
    • ‘She whispered, but Will murmured in an undertone for her to be quiet.’
    • ‘It has a nice, deep amber-brown colour, coffee, buttery undertones with a hint of tangerine in the taste, and a subtle warming of alcohol in the finish.’
    low voice, murmur, whisper, mutter
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    1. 1.1An underlying quality or feeling.
      ‘the sexual undertones of most advertising’
      • ‘There were distinct undertones of fear and uncertainty in her voice.’
      • ‘Instead of watching a comedy with sinister undertones, we're force-fed a melodrama with no tones at all.’
      • ‘What's elusive about their music is that the songs are written in an introspective manner and as such, the spiritual undertones are disguised as a reflective life ethic.’
      • ‘Dark, creepy undertones swell within its electronic mixes and specifically highlight the 4th untitled track.’
      • ‘But the political undertones are less interesting than the cultural ones.’
      • ‘Not surprisingly, the disconcerting undertones of this film are downright troubling.’
      • ‘There was an undertone of disapproval in his voice.’
      • ‘This show also had a lot of racist undertones and overtones.’
      • ‘There are hints of political undertones throughout the film.’
      • ‘‘Best if you overlook the name, mate,’ she suggested in a tone that was pleasant enough, yet held the tainted undertone of threat.’
      • ‘His statement held undertones of sexual suggestion, just as he had intended, and had no note of insecurity or uncertainty.’
      • ‘It has a few inspired moments and overall is a good, fun film with depressing undertones.’
      • ‘For all that written correspondence can manage, a subtle undertone and feeling is probably the hardest to achieve.’
      • ‘A lot of what he said to me had sexual undertones.’
      • ‘It's a movie with very strong spiritual undertones and overtones.’
      • ‘He didn't exactly looked panicked, but his voice was dark with rage and an undertone of fear.’
      • ‘The strong undertone of moral earnestness, never preached, gives a stability and force to the vivid portraiture, and prevents the satiric touches from degenerating into mere malice.’
      • ‘I'd said that once before, long ago, but that hadn't been tinted with the undertones I was feeling now.’
      • ‘Ali's arguments are tinged with nationalistic undertones.’
      • ‘However much I tried to be funny and nice, I didn't try to hide the undertone of serious disappointment.’
      undercurrent, hint, overtone, suggestion
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