One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in the theater) a person who learns another's role in order to be able to act as a replacement at short notice.
stand-in, substitute, replacement, reserve, fill-in, locum, proxy, backup, relief, standby, supply, surrogate, stopgap, second, alternative, ancillaryView synonyms
- ‘He is standing to the side once again on this day, an understudy in this tumultuous theatre.’
- ‘The understudy has had laryngitis for the past week.’
- ‘We should've just gotten an understudy for her role!’
- ‘What is an understudy or replacement to do when he takes over a role vacated by a star?’
- ‘This was the classic cliché - understudy steps in at the last moment and makes good.’
- ‘I was his understudy for a few years and I tried to learn as much as I could from him.’
- ‘They don't have an understudy to take that role right now.’
- ‘It's a bit like the old fairy tale of an understudy in the theatre getting their chance when the real lead falls ill and given the opportunity commands the stage.’
- ‘Opera singers have ‘doubles’, or understudies, who are able to take over a role in case of the principal's absence.’
- ‘Shortly after making the move, she was hired as an understudy for the company.’
- ‘She was called back for a second, then a third audition before being cast as an understudy to the lead.’
Learn (a role) or the role played by (an actor)‘he had to understudy Prospero’
- ‘Apparently their mate, who was understudying the lead, had gone on that night so they were there to support him.’
- ‘Amy played Christine in the Millennium tour of Phantom, when she was understudying the role.’
- ‘After the auditions, she told me that she wanted me to understudy all of the parts, since I knew them already, just in case.’
- ‘He will understudy his successor who has an important role behind the scenes on the tour.’
- ‘When rehearsals began, she was so impressed with him that she made him understudy for Jason's leading role.’
- ‘Brian said: ‘It puts her in a good place for understudying the lead roles and if things work out well she could find herself going on for a principal before too long.’’
- ‘There are several Juliets, at least two Romeos, and among the 32 dancers everyone seems to understudy everybody else.’
Top tips for CV writingRead more
In this article we explore how to impress employers with a spot-on CV.