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[in-tohn] /ɪnˈtoʊn/
verb (used with object), intoned, intoning.
to utter with a particular tone or voice modulation.
to give tone or variety of tone to; vocalize.
to utter in a singing voice (the first tones of a section in a liturgical service).
to recite or chant in monotone.
verb (used without object), intoned, intoning.
to speak or recite in a singing voice, especially in monotone; chant.
Music. to produce a tone, or a particular series of tones, like a scale, especially with the voice.
Origin of intone
1475-85; < Medieval Latin intonāre; replacing earlier entone < Middle French entoner < Medieval Latin; see in-2, tone
Related forms
intoner, noun
half-intoned, adjective
unintoned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for intone
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • intone, nevertheless, he did; and as badly as mortal man well could!

  • We will intone the battle-psalms, and from the Lozre to the sea Israel shall arise.

    Eli and Sibyl Jones

    Rufus Matthew Jones
  • But considered as a whole, the singers are like actors, who intone instead of speaking.

  • Only a few months before she had seldom seen him intone grace at all.

    The Imported Bridegroom Abraham Cahan
  • I seized the Targa's arm as he was starting to intone his refrain for the third time.

    Atlantida Pierre Benoit
  • My body shall be the altar, and my sighs the vows, and I will intone the service in thousands and thousands of verses.

  • Invisible choristers, among whom we seem to distinguish voices of men and youths, now intone a mystic chant.

  • Has not man something better to do than to learn to bow, to intone, to admire flowers, and to look at painted glass?

    The London Pulpit J. Ewing Ritchie
British Dictionary definitions for intone


to utter, recite, or sing (a chant, prayer, etc) in a monotonous or incantatory tone
(intransitive) to speak with a particular or characteristic intonation or tone
to sing (the opening phrase of a psalm, etc) in plainsong
Derived Forms
intoner, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin intonare, from in-² + tone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for intone

late 14c., entunen "sing, chant, recite," from Old French entoner "sing, chant" (13c.), from Medieval Latin intonare "sing according to tone," from Latin in- "in" (see in- (2)) + tonus "tone," from Greek tonos (see tenet). A different verb intone was in use 17c.18c., from Latin intonare "to thunder, resound," figuratively "to cry out vehemently," from tonare "to thunder." Related: Intoned; intoning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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