- the pattern or melody of pitch changes in connected speech, especially the pitch pattern of a sentence, which distinguishes kinds of sentences or speakers of different language cultures.
- the act or manner of intonating.
- the manner of producing musical tones, specifically the relation in pitch of tones to their key or harmony.
- something that is intoned or chanted.
- the opening phrase in a Gregorian chant, usually sung by one or two voices.
Origin of intonation
Examples from the Web for intonation
Black English is also intonation, which is a powerful rhetorical tool.For a President Today, Talkin' Down Is Speaking American
August 7, 2014
Wardrobe, mannerisms, and intonation are fair game, and Chu certainly has his detractors there.How I Taught Arthur Chu to Be the ‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Everyone Loves to Hate
February 21, 2014
You can say it on the radio because you have the voice and the intonation, but that is totally different in print.Christian Boltanski's Lost Island
May 20, 2010
A sudden throb of shock masked in the surface indifference of intonation.Within the Law
The intonation of the Ungava Eskimos, particularly the women, is like a plaint.The Long Labrador Trail
Something in his intonation, some change in his face, gripped hold of Duncan.The Avenger
E. Phillips Oppenheim
Mademoiselle caught the meaning of the intonation rather than any in the words.Louisiana Lou
William West Winter
"Say, Rossi isn't an anarchist," said a man with an American intonation.The Eternal City
- the sound pattern of phrases and sentences produced by pitch variation in the voice
- the act or manner of intoning
- an intoned, chanted, or monotonous utterance; incantation
- music the opening of a piece of plainsong, sung by a soloist
- the correct or accurate pitching of intervals
- the capacity to play or sing in tuneSee also just intonation
Word Origin and History for intonation
1610s, "opening phrase of a melody," from French intonation, from Medieval Latin intonationem (nominative intonatio), from past participle stem of intonare (see intone). Meaning "modulation of the voice in speaking" is from 1791.