- Tenor is the highest range of the adult male singing voice, or is a person who sings at that octave.
Pavarotti is an example of a tenor as he has a high singing voice.
- Tenor is the general course or mood of something.
An example of tenor is the general atmosphere of tension at a tense meeting.
- general course or tendency: the even tenor of my life
- general meaning; drift; purport
- in a metaphor, that term or concept that is described in a figurative way by the vehicle
- Obs. general character or nature
- the exact wording or an exact copy of a legal document
Origin of tenorME < MFr tenour < It tenore < L tenor, a holding: the tenor voice “held” the melody (canto fermo) the range of a voice, often, specif., an adult male voice, between baritone and countertenor, usually from about an octave below middle C to an octave above
- a voice or singer with such a range
- an instrument with a similar range within its family, as a tenor saxophone
- a part for such a voice or instrument
- in four-part harmony, the second lowest part
- in a set of bells for ringing changes, the bell with the lowest tone
Origin of tenorOld French from Classical Latin tenere, to hold: see tenant
of, for, or having the range of a tenor
- The general course or character of something: “She would coast tonight, segue early into the Q&A, let the audience dictate the tenor of the event” ( Anita Shreve ) See Synonyms at tendency.
- The word, phrase, or subject with which the vehicle of a metaphor is identified, as life in “Life's but a walking shadow” ( Shakespeare )
- The general meaning; the purport or drift: the tenor of her remarks; the tenor of your message.
- Music a. The highest natural adult male voice.b. One who sings this part.c. An instrument that sounds within this range.d. A vocal or instrumental part written within this range.
Origin of tenorMiddle English from Anglo-Norman from Latin uninterrupted course from tenēre to hold, continue ; see ten- in Indo-European roots.
- (archaic, music) Musical part or section that holds or performs the main melody, as opposed to the contratenor bassus and contratenor altus, who perform countermelodies.
- (music) Musical range or section higher than bass and lower than alto.
- A person, instrument, or group that performs in the tenor (higher than bass and lower than alto) range.
- Tone, as of a conversation.
- (linguistics) The subject in a metaphor to which attributes are ascribed.
- (finance) Time to maturity of a bond.
- Stamp; character; nature.
- (law) An exact copy of a writing, set forth in the words and figures of it. It differs from purport, which is only the substance or general import of the instrument.
- That course of thought which holds on through a discourse; the general drift or course of thought; purport; intent; meaning; understanding.
- of or pertaining to the tenor part or range
- He has a tenor voice.