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monotone

[mon-uh-tohn]
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noun
  1. a vocal utterance or series of speech sounds in one unvaried tone.
  2. a single tone without harmony or variation in pitch.
  3. recitation or singing of words in such a tone.
  4. a person who is unable to discriminate between or to reproduce differences in musical pitch, especially in singing.
  5. sameness of tone or color, sometimes to a boring degree.
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adjective
  1. monotonous.
  2. consisting of or characterized by a uniform tone of one color: a monotone drape.Compare monochromatic(defs 1, 2).
  3. Mathematics. monotonic(def 2).
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Origin of monotone

1635–45; < French monotone < Late Greek monótonos monotonous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for monotone

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There was a monotone of desolation as she went on speaking in a whisper meant for the ears of no other.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The inexorable voice went on in its monotone, as if he had not spoken.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Then her voice rose above the monotone that had contented her hitherto.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • "Her husband caused it by kicking her in the stomach," she said in a monotone.

    L'Assommoir

    Emile Zola

  • The voice was a monotone, minus expression, almost minus life.

    The White Desert

    Courtney Ryley Cooper


British Dictionary definitions for monotone

monotone

noun
  1. a single unvaried pitch level in speech, sound, etc
  2. utterance, etc, without change of pitch
  3. lack of variety in style, expression. etc
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adjective
  1. unvarying or monotonous
  2. Also: monotonic (ˌmɒnəˈtɒnɪk) maths (of a sequence or function) consistently increasing or decreasing in value
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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

Word Origin and History for monotone

n.

"unvarying tone in music or speaking," 1640s; see monotony. OED says use of the word as a noun "is peculiar to Eng." Related: Monotonic; monotonically.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper