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English definition of “undertone”

undertone

noun uk   /ˈʌn.də.təʊn/ us    /-dɚ.toʊn/

undertone noun (CHARACTERISTIC)

[C] a particular but not obvious characteristic that a piece of writing or speech, an event, or a situation has: I thought her speech had slightly sinister undertones. It was a comedy act with an undertone of cruelty.

undertone noun (QUIET VOICE)

in an undertone in a very quiet voice: Freddie muttered something to me in an undertone.
(Definition of undertone from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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