tone

A tone is the kind of sound you hear in a musical note, or in a person's voice live or in writing. A newspaper article should be objective, but a poem can bring up all kinds of emotions, depending on the tone.

The word tone often refers to sound, as in music, or the feeling conveyed by the way someone speaks: "His tone of voice told me I was in trouble." It can also be used to describe the atmosphere of a place — its flavor or spirit — or the shades of meaning in a work that might reveal the larger intentions of an author. If your body has tone, its muscular structure is strong and appears well defined.

Primary Meanings of tone

1.
nv
(music) the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or noise or musical sound)
vary the pitch of one's speech
2.
n
the quality of something (an act or a piece of writing) that reveals the attitudes and presuppositions of the author
3.
nv
a quality of a given color that differs slightly from another color
change to a color image
4.
nv
the elastic tension of living muscles, arteries, etc. that facilitate response to stimuli
give a healthy elasticity to
Full Definitions of tone
1

n (music) the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or noise or musical sound)

“the muffled tones of the broken bell summoned them to meet”
Synonyms:
quality, timber, timbre
Types:
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harmonic
any of a series of musical tones whose frequencies are integral multiples of the frequency of a fundamental
resonance
the quality imparted to voiced speech sounds by the action of the resonating chambers of the throat and mouth and nasal cavities
color, coloration, colour, colouration
the timbre of a musical sound
nasality
a quality of the voice that is produced by nasal resonators
plangency, resonance, reverberance, ringing, sonority, sonorousness, vibrancy
having the character of a loud deep sound; the quality of being resonant
shrillness, stridence, stridency
having the timbre of a loud high-pitched sound
register
(music) the timbre that is characteristic of a certain range and manner of production of the human voice or of different pipe organ stops or of different musical instruments
nasal twang, twang
exaggerated nasality in speech (as in some regional dialects)
head register, head tone, head voice
the higher ranges of the voice in speaking or singing; the vibrations of sung notes are felt in the head
chest register, chest tone, chest voice
the lower ranges of the voice in speaking or singing
Type of:
sound property
an attribute of sound

n a notation representing the pitch and duration of a musical sound

Synonyms:
musical note, note
Types:
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keynote, tonic
(music) the first note of a diatonic scale
supertonic
(music) the second note of a diatonic scale
mediant
(music) the third note of a diatonic scale; midway between the tonic and the dominant
subdominant
(music) the fourth note of the diatonic scale
dominant
(music) the fifth note of the diatonic scale
submediant
(music) the sixth note of a major or minor scale (or the third below the tonic)
leading tone, subtonic
(music) the seventh note of the diatonic scale
pedal, pedal point
a sustained bass note
shake, trill
a note that alternates rapidly with another note a semitone above it
middle C
the note designated by the first ledger line below the treble staff; 261.63 hertz
chord
a combination of three or more notes that blend harmoniously when sounded together
passing note, passing tone
a nonharmonic note inserted for transition between harmonic notes
semibreve, whole note
a musical note having the longest time value (equal to four beats in common time)
half note, minim
a musical note having the time value of half a whole note
crotchet, quarter note
a musical note having the time value of a quarter of a whole note
eighth note, quaver
a musical note having the time value of an eighth of a whole note
semiquaver, sixteenth note
a musical note having the time value of a sixteenth of a whole note
demisemiquaver, thirty-second note
a musical note having the time value of a thirty-second of a whole note
hemidemisemiquaver, sixty-fourth note
a musical note having the time value of a sixty-fourth of a whole note
acciaccatura, appoggiatura, grace note
an embellishing note usually written in smaller size
blue note
a flattened third or seventh
monotone
a single tone repeated with different words or different rhythms (especially in rendering liturgical texts)
C
(music) the keynote of the scale of C major
arpeggio
a chord whose notes are played in rapid succession rather than simultaneously
sforzando
an accented chord
common chord, triad
a three-note major or minor chord; a note and its third and fifth tones
seventh chord
a triad with a seventh added
Type of:
musical notation
(music) notation used by musicians

n a musical interval of two semitones

Synonyms:
step, whole step, whole tone
Type of:
interval, musical interval
the difference in pitch between two notes

n a steady sound without overtones

Synonyms:
pure tone
Types:
harmonic
a tone that is a component of a complex sound
first harmonic, fundamental, fundamental frequency
the lowest tone of a harmonic series
overtone, partial, partial tone
a harmonic with a frequency that is a multiple of the fundamental frequency
Type of:
auditory sensation, sound
the subjective sensation of hearing something

n (linguistics) a pitch or change in pitch of the voice that serves to distinguish words in tonal languages

“the Beijing dialect uses four tones
Type of:
pitch
the property of sound that varies with variation in the frequency of vibration

v vary the pitch of one's speech

Synonyms:
inflect, modulate
Type of:
mouth, speak, talk, utter, verbalise, verbalize
express in speech

v utter monotonously and repetitively and rhythmically

Synonyms:
chant, intone
Type of:
mouth, speak, talk, utter, verbalise, verbalize
express in speech
2

n the quality of something (an act or a piece of writing) that reveals the attitudes and presuppositions of the author

“the general tone of articles appearing in the newspapers is that the government should withdraw”
“from the tone of her behavior I gathered that I had outstayed my welcome”
Type of:
quality
an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone

n the general atmosphere of a place or situation and the effect that it has on people

“a clergyman improved the tone of the meeting”
Synonyms:
feel, feeling, flavor, flavour, look, smell, spirit
Types:
Hollywood
a flashy vulgar tone or atmosphere believed to be characteristic of the American film industry
Zeitgeist
the spirit of the time; the spirit characteristic of an age or generation
Type of:
ambiance, ambience, atmosphere
a particular environment or surrounding influence

n the quality of a person's voice

“he began in a conversational tone
“he spoke in a nervous tone of voice”
Synonyms:
tone of voice
Types:
note
a tone of voice that shows what the speaker is feeling
rotundity, roundness
the fullness of a tone of voice
undertone
a quiet or hushed tone of voice
Type of:
delivery, manner of speaking, speech
your characteristic style or manner of expressing yourself orally
3

n a quality of a given color that differs slightly from another color

Synonyms:
shade, tincture, tint
Types:
mellowness
a soft shade of a color
richness
a strong deep vividness of hue
tinge, undertone
a pale or subdued color
Type of:
color, coloring, colour, colouring
a visual attribute of things that results from the light they emit or transmit or reflect

v change to a color image

tone a photographic image”
Type of:
color, color in, colorise, colorize, colour, colour in, colourise, colourize
add color to

v change the color or tone of

tone a negative”
Type of:
color, colour, discolor, discolour
change color, often in an undesired manner
4

n the elastic tension of living muscles, arteries, etc. that facilitate response to stimuli

Synonyms:
tonicity, tonus
Antonyms:
amyotonia, atonia, atonicity, atony
lack of normal muscular tension or tonus
Types:
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catatonia
extreme tonus; muscular rigidity; a common symptom in catatonic schizophrenia
muscle tone, muscular tonus
normal tonicity of the muscles
myotonia
abnormally long muscular contractions; slow relaxation of a muscle after a contraction
hypertonia, hypertonicity, hypertonus
(of muscular tissue) the state of being hypertonic
hypotonia, hypotonicity, hypotonus
(of muscular tissue) the state of being hypotonic
acromyotonia
myotonia of the extremities only; causes spastic deformity of the hand or foot
Thomsen's disease, myotonia congenita
a mild, rare, congenital form of myotonia characterized by muscle stiffness
Type of:
tautness, tenseness, tension, tensity
the physical condition of being stretched or strained

v give a healthy elasticity to

“Let's tone our muscles”
Synonyms:
strengthen, tone up
Type of:
exercise, work out
do physical exercise

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