If you undo your shoelaces just because the cool kids wear their sneakers unlaced, the popular crowd may have undue influence over you. Tie those shoelaces back up! To undo something is to make it go back to its original state. Undue means “undeserved or excessive.”

You can undo something as simple as a buckle on a suitcase, a latch on a door, or thankfully, a wrong command on a computer. But undo can also be negative — to undo progress is to go backwards, and to undo another person is to upset them or make them fail. Here are some examples:

It took the interlaced effects of the two forces to undo the knot: the repeated impacts loosened it while the changes of direction pulled on the laces. (Nature)

Countries that have beaten back the virus to low levels need to be especially vigilant for superspreading events, because they can easily undo hard-won gains. (Science Magazine)

If Cromwell’s intriguing against two women helps to make his fortune in the first two novels, it is his good deeds that help to undo him in the third. (Slate)

Undue can literally describe something isn’t due yet, like a bill that doesn’t need to be paid until next month. But this word usually describes something that is extreme, excessive, or over the top. If you have undue influence over the student council president, you can easily persuade her to enact all of your preferred policies. Without undue delay, here are some more examples of undue:
Opponents of the system say China continues to exert undue control over that process. (Washington Post)

A coalition of state lawmakers stepped in, saying that the bag fee amounted to government overreach and that it would put an undue financial burden on poor New Yorkers. (New York Times)

Don’t let these two words undo you! Undo is a verb, and undue is an adjective — with an “e” on the end to remind you that it means “extreme or excessive.”