Even if your friend claims she's not upset by the death of her pet iguana, her intonation may tell a different story. Intonation means the way someone's voice rises and falls as they're speaking.

Your emotions, your regional accent, or just the particular way you're used to speaking can all affect the intonation of your voice. There's something musical in the way people speak, and intonation describes that musicality. The word also means "producing musical tones," either with your voice or a musical instrument. Another kind of intonation is chanting, or half-speaking, half-singing your words.

Definitions of intonation
  1. noun
    the act of singing in a monotonous tone
    synonyms: chanting
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    liturgical chanting
    type of:
    singing, vocalizing
    the act of singing vocal music
  2. noun
    singing by a soloist of the opening piece of plainsong
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    type of:
    singing, vocalizing
    the act of singing vocal music
  3. noun
    rise and fall of the voice pitch
    synonyms: cadence, modulation, pitch contour
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    intonation pattern
    intonations characteristic of questions and requests and statements
    drone, droning, monotone
    an unchanging intonation
    a regular and monotonous rising and falling intonation
    type of:
    inflection, prosody
    the patterns of stress and intonation in a language
  4. noun
    the production of musical tones (by voice or instrument); especially the exactitude of the pitch relations
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    fixed intonation
    the intonation of keyboard instruments where the pitch of each note is fixed and cannot be varied by the performer
    type of:
    musical activity (singing or whistling etc.)
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘intonation'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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