[in-toh-ney-shuh n, -tuh-]
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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
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
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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper