undertow

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undertow

1. A strong undercurrent, as in the ocean. There's a really powerful undertow today, so I think the kids should stay out of the water.
2. A contrasting tone or aspect in art or literature. That movie is advertised as a comedy, but the humor has a strong undertow of sadness and despair.
References in periodicals archive ?
The RNLI spokesman said the vessel was under tow by another fishing vessel which was struggling as she was far smaller than the casualty vessel.