tenor

Think of a tenor as a tone — in music, it's the range between baritone and alto in the human voice or in an instrument such as a tenor saxophone. It also is the "tone" or meaning of a spoken comment.

The meaning of the Latin word tenere, was "to hold to a course." Then the Old French took the word tenour in the 14th Century, giving it the meaning of “sense,” or a general feeling of a comment. But that same century, the original meaning resurfaced when the word entered the musical lexicon as the Italian tenore, or tenor, the name given to the high male voice because that was the voice that carried, or “held on to” the melody.

Definitions of tenor
  1. noun
    the adult male singing voice above baritone
    synonyms: tenor voice
    see moresee less
    type of:
    singing voice
    the musical quality of the voice while singing
  2. noun
    the pitch range of the highest male voice
    see moresee less
    type of:
    pitch
    the property of sound that varies with variation in the frequency of vibration
  3. noun
    an adult male with a tenor voice
    see moresee less
    examples:
    show 5 examples...
    hide 5 examples...
    Enrico Caruso
    outstanding Italian operatic tenor (1873-1921)
    Placido Domingo
    Spanish operatic tenor noted for performances in operas by Verdi and Puccini (born in 1941)
    John McCormick
    United States operatic tenor (born in Ireland) (1884-1945)
    Lauritz Lebrecht Hommel Melchior
    United States operatic tenor (born in Denmark) noted for his Wagnerian roles (1890-1973)
    Luciano Pavarotti
    Italian tenor (born in 1935)
    type of:
    singer, vocaliser, vocalist, vocalizer
    a person who sings
  4. adjective
    (of a musical instrument) intermediate between alto and baritone or bass
    “a tenor sax”
    Synonyms:
    high, high-pitched
    used of sounds and voices; high in pitch or frequency
  5. adjective
    of or close in range to the highest natural adult male voice
    tenor voice”
    Synonyms:
    high, high-pitched
    used of sounds and voices; high in pitch or frequency
  6. noun
    a settled or prevailing or habitual course of a person's life
    “nothing disturbed the even tenor of her ways”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    direction
    a general course along which something has a tendency to develop
  7. noun
    the general meaning or substance of an utterance
    “although I disagreed with him I could follow the tenor of his argument”
    synonyms: strain
    see moresee less
    types:
    drift, purport
    the pervading meaning or tenor
    type of:
    meaning, substance
    the idea that is intended
Word Family