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[muh-not-n-uh s] /məˈnɒt n əs/
lacking in variety; tediously unvarying:
the monotonous flat scenery.
characterizing a sound continuing on one note.
having very little inflection; limited to a narrow pitch range.
Origin of monotonous
From the Late Greek word monótonos, dating back to 1770-80. See mono-, tone, -ous
Related forms
monotonously, adverb
monotonousness, noun
unmonotonous, adjective
unmonotonously, adverb
Can be confused
monotonic, monotonous.
1. tedious, humdrum, boring, dull. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for monotonously
Historical Examples
  • "I cannot tell you anything about them," Joan said monotonously.

    Slaves of Mercury Nat Schachner
  • The speaker suddenly began to whine softly and monotonously.

  • And the march continued, monotonously, almost like a bad sleep.

    The Prussian Officer D. H. Lawrence
  • "You will find that you cannot," the passionless creature returned, monotonously.

    Triplanetary Edward Elmer Smith
  • And so for some two hours the vessel crept on, wearily as it seemed and monotonously.

    A Prisoner of Morro

    Upton Sinclair
  • Their cry is repeated, I admit, but the reason remains most monotonously the same.

    The Cycle of Spring Rabindranath Tagore
  • "And she looks at me, and she wants to stay with me," he went on monotonously.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
  • The navigation was monotonously continued from the 31st of May to the 10th of June.

  • Her final question had been asked as evenly, as monotonously as the others.

    Paths of Judgement Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • And, monotonously, vigorously, it drew the air in and out of its mouth.

    The Narrow House Evelyn Scott
British Dictionary definitions for monotonously


dull and tedious, esp because of repetition
unvarying in pitch or cadence
Derived Forms
monotonously, adverb
monotonousness, noun
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 monotonously



1750, of sound, from Greek monotonos "of one tone" (see monotony). Transferred and figurative use, "lacking in variety, uninteresting," is from 1783. Related: Monotonously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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