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 formsmo·not·o·nous·ly, adverbmo·not·o·nous·ness, nounun·mo·not·o·nous, adjectiveun·mo·not·o·nous·ly, adverb
Can be confusedmonotonic monotonous

Synonyms for monotonous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for monotonous

Contemporary Examples of monotonous

Historical Examples of monotonous

  • This flash of gold is the only brightness in the place, otherwise dull and monotonous.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • That is why his face was so smooth and cold, his eyes so dull and his voice so monotonous.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • He climbed up to his old perch and resumed his monotonous whining: Wah!

    Johnny Bear

    E. T. Seton

  • All other sounds were dominated by the monotonous shouts of the gondoliers.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

  • To lead a life as monotonous as mine has been during many years, is not the way to forget.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for monotonous



dull and tedious, esp because of repetition
unvarying in pitch or cadence
Derived Formsmonotonously, adverbmonotonousness, 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

Word Origin and History for monotonous

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