American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To perform (a role) weakly or with insufficient expressiveness.
- v. To understate (a role) intentionally; underplay.
- v. To perform in an understated way.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To act or perform, as a play or part, inefficiently.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To perform inefficiently, as a play; to act feebly.
- v. act (a role) with great restraint
- From under- + act. (Wiktionary)
“A fine British cast overact or underact in this perfunctory true-life tale of a working-class lad from a sink estate in south London.”
“I spent my youth anesthetizing myself just enough to stand the daily less-violent silent injustices, and I think it means I tend to underact when the hatred is more open.”
“There are a grand total of two scenes where Kristen Stewart does NOT underact, and the hospital scene is absolutely brilliant in my opinion.”
“In fact, he suggested political leaders were better to "overact" than "underact" when it comes to speeding stimulus money out the door.”
“She doesn't overact or underact; she just stands around with whatever the appropriate expression for the scene seems to be on her sweet, pretty, childlike face.”
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