overtone

[ oh-ver-tohn ]
/ ˈoʊ vərˌtoʊn /

noun

Music. an acoustical frequency that is higher in frequency than the fundamental.
an additional, usually subsidiary and implicit meaning or quality: an aesthetic theory with definite political overtones.

Origin of overtone

1865–70; translation of German Oberton. See over-, tone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for overtone

British Dictionary definitions for overtone

overtone

/ (ˈəʊvəˌtəʊn) /

noun

(often plural) additional meaning or nuanceovertones of despair
music acoustics any of the tones, with the exception of the fundamental, that constitute a musical sound and contribute to its quality, each having a frequency that is a multiple of the fundamental frequencySee also harmonic (def. 7), partial (def. 6)
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 overtone

overtone


n.

1867, in literal sense, from over + tone (n.); a loan-translation of German Oberton, first used by German physicist Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821-1894) as a contraction of Overpartialton "upper partial tone." Figurative sense of "subtle implication" is from 1890, first attested in writings of William James.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for overtone

overtone

[ ōvər-tōn′ ]

See under harmonic.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.