Definition of undertow in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈəndərˌtō/


1 another term for rip current, used in the incorrect belief that rip currents drag swimmers below the surface. I was swept away by the undertow
More example sentences
  • There's been a high undertow and rip currents there.
  • It was far away, almost out of sight, and the undertow threatened to pull her down at any moment.
  • It was like a flood, like being trapped in the undertow of a tsunami.
1.1An implicit quality, emotion, or influence underlying the superficial aspects of something and leaving a particular impression: there’s a dark undertow of loss that links the novel with earlier works
More example sentences
  • There is a dark undertow to the book.
  • Unhappily for your daughter, she is in the undertow of abuse, loss, and possibly guilt.
  • Amid the laughter, the melodrama and hysteria, this is a play with a terrible, almost frightening undertow of sadness and helplessness.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: un·der·tow

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