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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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
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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Example sentences
Others also perceived a mercantilist undertone in the president's speech, and
  not for no reason.
They stepped aside and the policeman spoke in an undertone, urging something
  strongly.
The undertone is that they're accelerating but that's an unjustified conclusion
  from the data.
The difference, however, is in the moralistic undertone usually sensed in the
  former.
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