Tone definition

tōn
To harmonize in color.
verb
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2
A certain attitude on the part of a speaker or writer conveyed by way of word choice, sentence structure, etc.

The friendly tone of her letter.

noun
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1
To give tone or firmness to.
verb
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2
Normal firmness of a tissue or an organ.
noun
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1
The quality or character of sound.
noun
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3
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Quality of color.

The green wallpaper had a particularly somber tone.

noun
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Manner of expression in speech or writing.

Took an angry tone with the reporters.

noun
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A general quality, effect, or atmosphere.

A room with an elegant tone.

noun
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The general effect in painting of light, color, and shade.
noun
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A sound of distinct pitch, quality, and duration; a note.
noun
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The interval of a major second in the diatonic scale; a whole step.
noun
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A recitational melody in a Gregorian chant.
noun
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The quality or character of sound.
noun
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The characteristic quality or timbre of a particular instrument or voice.
noun
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The pitch of a word used to determine its meaning or to distinguish differences in meaning.
noun
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The particular or relative pitch of a word, phrase, or sentence.
noun
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A color or shade of color.

Light tones of blue.

noun
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The normal state of elastic tension or partial contraction in resting muscles.
noun
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Normal firmness of a tissue or an organ.
noun
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(painting) The effect produced by the combination of light, shade, and color.
noun
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A vocal or musical sound.
noun
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Its quality.
noun
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The prevailing or predominant style, character, spirit, trend, morale, or state of morals of a place or period.

The cultured tone of their house.

noun
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Distinctive style; elegance.

Paintings that lent the room tone.

noun
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A quality or value of color; tint; shade.
noun
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Any of the slight modifications of a particular color; hue.

Three tones of green.

noun
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The relative height of pitch with which a syllable, word, etc. is pronounced.
noun
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The relative height of pitch that is a phoneme of a language and distinguishes meaning, as in the tone languages.
noun
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A sound that is distinct and identifiable by its regularity of vibration, or constant pitch (as distinguished from a noise), and that may be put into harmonic relation with other such sounds.
noun
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The simple or fundamental tone of a musical sound as distinguished from its overtones.
noun
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Any one of the full intervals of a diatonic scale; whole step.
noun
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Any of several recitation melodies used in singing the psalms in plainsong.
noun
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The condition of an organism, organ, or part with reference to its normal, healthy functioning.
noun
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The normal tension, or resistance to stretch, of a healthy muscle, independent of that caused by voluntary innervation; tonus.
noun
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(music) A specific pitch.
noun
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(music) (in the diatonic scale) An interval of a major second.
noun
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(music) (in a Gregorian chant) A recitational melody.
noun
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The character of a sound, especially the timbre of an instrument or voice.
noun
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General character, mood, or trend.

Her rousing speech gave an upbeat tone to the rest of the evening.

noun
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(linguistics) The pitch of a word that distinguishes a difference in meaning, for example in Chinese.
noun
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(dated) A whining style of speaking; a kind of mournful or artificial strain of voice; an affected speaking with a measured rhythm and a regular rise and fall of the voice.

Children often read with a tone.

noun
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(literature) The manner in which speech or writing is expressed.
noun
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The shade or quality of a colour.
noun
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The favourable effect of a picture produced by the combination of light and shade, or of colours.

This picture has tone.

noun
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The definition and firmness of a muscle or organ. see also: tonus.
noun
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(biology) The state of a living body or of any of its organs or parts in which the functions are healthy and performed with due vigor.
noun
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(biology) Normal tension or responsiveness to stimuli.
noun
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To give a particular tone to.
verb
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To change the colour of.
verb
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To make (something) firmer.
verb
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(intransitive) To harmonize, especially in colour.
verb
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To utter with an affected tone.
verb
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An intonation, pitch, modulation, etc. of the voice that expresses a particular meaning or feeling of the speaker.

A tone of contempt.

noun
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The normal state of elastic tension or partial contraction in resting muscles.
noun
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4
To give a tone to; specif., to give the proper or desired tone to (a musical instrument, a painting, etc.)
verb
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(photog.) To change or alter the color of (a print) by chemical means.
verb
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To assume a tone.
verb
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Normal resilience or elasticity.

Rubber that has lost its tone.

noun
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2
verb
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To change the tone of.
verb
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The definition of a tone is a sound in terms of its quality, pitch, origin or power.

An example of tone is off-key.

noun
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Tone means to soften or reduce, particularly in artistic terms.

An example of tone is to add white eyeshadow to black eyeshadow so that it is not so harsh.

verb
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Tone is the quality or implied meaning of something that is said.

An example of tone is sarcasm.

noun
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Tone is defined as to strengthen or firm up.

An example of tone is to lift weights every day to build muscle.

verb
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(now dialectal) The one (of two).
pronoun
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1
To give a particular tone or inflection to.
verb
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To soften or change the color of (a painting or photographic negative, for example).
verb
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To sound monotonously; intone.
verb
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To make firmer or stronger. Often used with up .

Exercises that tone up the body.

verb
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To assume a particular color quality.
verb
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3
tone down
  • to give a lower or less intense tone to
  • to become softened
  • to make (something written or said) less harsh or more moderate
idiom
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1
tone in with
  • to harmonize with
idiom
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tone up
  • to give a higher or more intense tone to
  • to become strengthened or heightened
idiom
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2

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
tone
Plural:
tones

Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

tone in with

Origin of tone

  • Middle English ton from Old French from Latin tonus from Greek tonos string, a stretching ten- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English tone, ton, toon, from the incorrect division of thet one (“the/that one"). Compare Scots tane in the tane; see also tother.

    From Wiktionary

  • From French ton, from Latin tonus (“sound, tone"), from Ancient Greek τόνος (tonos, “strain, tension, pitch"), from τείνω (teinō, “I stretch")

    From Wiktionary