[ oh-ver-tohn ]
/ ˈoʊ vərˌtoʊn /


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.


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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. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for overtone

British Dictionary definitions for overtone

/ (ˈəʊvəˌtəʊn) /


(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

Scientific definitions for overtone

[ ōvər-tōn′ ]

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