[ kee-noht ]
/ ˈkiˌnoʊt /


verb (used with object), key·not·ed, key·not·ing.

verb (used without object), key·not·ed, key·not·ing.

to provide a keynote, especially a keynote address: He refused an invitation to keynote.

Origin of keynote

First recorded in 1755–65; key1 + note Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for keynote

British Dictionary definitions for keynote


/ (ˈkiːˌnəʊt) /


  1. a central or determining principle in a speech, literary work, etc
  2. (as modifier)a keynote speech
the note upon which a scale or key is based; tonic

verb (tr)

to deliver a keynote address to (a political convention, etc)
to outline (political issues, policy, etc) in or as in a keynote address
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 keynote



also key-note, "lowest note of a musical scale, basis of a scale," 1776, from key (n.1) in sense of "musical scale" + note (n.). Figurative sense of "leading idea" is from 1783; keynote address is 1905, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper