in an undertone

in an undertone

In a subtle, low-key, or hushed manner; quietly or understatedly. Usually, but not always, used in reference to speech or sound. I heard him state in an undertone that he wasn't surprised at the poor reception, given management's inadequate budget for the project, but I don't think anyone else heard him. In an undertone, the film upends the cliché of violence as a means of resolution that is so often the focus of other action films.

in an ˈundertone

,

in ˈundertones

in a quiet voice: ‘I must leave now,’ he said in an undertone. OPPOSITE: at the top of your voice
References in classic literature ?
Why, Wakem is making himself particularly amiable to your cousin," said Stephen, in an undertone to Lucy; "is it pure magnanimity?
he soliloquised in an undertone of peevish displeasure, while relieving me of my horse: looking, meantime, in my face so sourly that I charitably conjectured he must have need of divine aid to digest his dinner, and his pious ejaculation had no reference to my unexpected advent.
And he added in an undertone to the Queen, `Really, my dear, YOU must cross-examine the next witness.