under tone

undertone

[uhn-der-tohn]
noun
1.
a low or subdued tone: to speak in undertones.
2.
an unobtrusive or background sound: an undertone of static from the receiver.
3.
an underlying quality or element; undercurrent: There was an undertone of regret in his refusal.
4.
a subdued color; a color modified by an underlying color.

Origin:
1800–10; under- + tone

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World English Dictionary
undertone (ˈʌndəˌtəʊn)
 
n
1.  a quiet or hushed tone of voice
2.  an underlying tone or suggestion in words or actions: his offer has undertones of dishonesty
3.  a pale or subdued colour

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

undertone
1762, "low or subdued tone," from under + tone. Fig. sense of "undercurrent of feelings, etc.," is attested from 1861.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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