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.

Definitions of tone
  1. noun
    (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
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    any of a series of musical tones whose frequencies are integral multiples of the frequency of a fundamental
    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
    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
    (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
  2. noun
    a notation representing the pitch and duration of a musical sound
    synonyms: musical note, note
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    keynote, tonic
    (music) the first note of a diatonic scale
    (music) the second note of a diatonic scale
    (music) the third note of a diatonic scale; midway between the tonic and the dominant
    (music) the fourth note of the diatonic scale
    (music) the fifth note of the diatonic scale
    (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
    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
    a single tone repeated with different words or different rhythms (especially in rendering liturgical texts)
    (music) the keynote of the scale of C major
    a chord whose notes are played in rapid succession rather than simultaneously
    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
  3. noun
    a musical interval of two semitones
    synonyms: step, whole step, whole tone
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    type of:
    interval, musical interval
    the difference in pitch between two notes
  4. noun
    a steady sound without overtones
    synonyms: pure tone
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    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
  5. noun
    (linguistics) a pitch or change in pitch of the voice that serves to distinguish words in tonal languages
    “the Beijing dialect uses four tones
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    type of:
    the property of sound that varies with variation in the frequency of vibration
  6. verb
    vary the pitch of one's speech
    synonyms: inflect, modulate
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    type of:
    mouth, speak, talk, utter, verbalise, verbalize
    express in speech
  7. verb
    utter monotonously and repetitively and rhythmically
    synonyms: chant, intone
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    type of:
    mouth, speak, talk, utter, verbalise, verbalize
    express in speech
  8. noun
    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”
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    type of:
    an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone
  9. noun
    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
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    a flashy vulgar tone or atmosphere believed to be characteristic of the American film industry
    the spirit of the time; the spirit characteristic of an age or generation
    type of:
    ambiance, ambience, atmosphere
    a particular environment or surrounding influence
  10. noun
    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
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    a tone of voice that shows what the speaker is feeling
    rotundity, roundness
    the fullness of a tone of voice
    a quiet or hushed tone of voice
    type of:
    delivery, manner of speaking, speech
    your characteristic style or manner of expressing yourself orally
  11. noun
    a quality of a given color that differs slightly from another color
    synonyms: shade, tincture, tint
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    a soft shade of a color
    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
  12. verb
    change to a color image
    tone a photographic image”
  13. verb
    change the color or tone of
    tone a negative”
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    type of:
    color, colour, discolor, discolour
    change color, often in an undesired manner
  14. noun
    the elastic tension of living muscles, arteries, etc. that facilitate response to stimuli
    synonyms: tonicity, tonus
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    amyotonia, atonia, atonicity, atony
    lack of normal muscular tension or tonus
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    extreme tonus; muscular rigidity; a common symptom in catatonic schizophrenia
    muscle tone, muscular tonus
    normal tonicity of the muscles
    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
    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
  15. verb
    give a healthy elasticity to
    “Let's tone our muscles”
    synonyms: strengthen, tone up
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    type of:
    exercise, work out
    do physical exercise
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