American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An underlying or implied tendency or meaning; an undercurrent.
- n. A tone of low pitch or volume, especially of spoken sound.
- n. A pale or subdued color.
- n. A color applied under or seen through another color.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In musical acoustics: Same as combinational tone (which see, under tone), One of a series of tones reckoned downward from a given tone in exactly the same way that the series of overtones or harmonics is reckoned upward. The interval from the given tone to the first undertone is an octave; to the second, an octave and a fifth; to the third, two octaves, etc. (See cut.) While this series is not actually heard in any case, yet it is claimed by many theorists recently that the relations involved are sufficiently felt to explain the minor mode as in a true sense an inversion or polar opposite of the major. Hence has arisen a large number of terms beginning with under-, denoting intervals and chords regarded downward corresponding with the usual names of intervals and chords regarded upward. See cut under
harmonic, n., 1.
- n. A low or subdued tone; a tone less forcible than is usual, as in speaking: as, to say something in an undertone.
- n. A state or degree of tone, as of the physical or mental faculties, below their usual condition. The color of a pigment when seen in very thin layers on a white or light-colored surface. Also— A low, subdued color: as, gray undertones.
- n. an auditory tone of low pitch or volume
- n. an implied meaning; an undercurrent
- n. a pale colour, or one seen underneath another colour
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A low or subdued tone or utterance; a tone less loud than usual.
- n. a quiet or hushed tone of voice
- n. a pale or subdued color
- n. a subdued emotional quality underlying an utterance; implicit meaning
“It's dense, moist, and full of flavor, the pumpkin undertone allows the cinnamon and chocolate chips to compliment each other without overpowering one another.”
“Often with a strange kind of undertone, which is supposed to frighten us.”
“If they’re related, then the undertone is that “you’re not one of us because you’re not in our family.””
“He's an influence on Coleman's own arcane ways of developing material like dipping into the so-called undertone series, which is basically the natural overtone series turned upside down.”
“He spoke in that quiet deliberate manner, and in that undertone, which is often observable in mechanics who consider and adjust with great nicety.”
“For the green eyes the undertone is a purple tone which CoverGirl has named Black Ruby.”
“It's quite difficult to "not focus on the religious undertones, that's something that should be subtly noticed," when the major "undertone" in "ABQ" is an event in which two airliners collide directly above the main character's head and rain down upon him, per the words of Vince Gilligan, as "the wrath of God.”
“Abi: I decided to go with "undertone" as opposed to: "I went to the market and later, I screamed a long time and almost died" - see, all those years in Britian are rubbing off on me.”
“So, yes, there have been -- there ` s been this kind of undertone of physical -- you know, physical force in the relationship.”
“It is a dark brown, several shades darker than the Malay, with a yellowish or saffron "undertone" showing on the less exposed parts of the body.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘undertone’.
Words rounded up while reading The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.
Words I like to use, words I like but may forget.
A sound garden.
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. --Walt Whitman
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