Dictionary.com

tenor

[ ten-er ]
/ ˈtɛn ər /
Save This Word!

noun

the course of thought or meaning that runs through something written or spoken; purport; drift.
continuous course, progress, or movement.
Rhetoric. the subject of a metaphor, as “she” in “She is a rose.”Compare vehicle (def. 8).
Music.
  1. the adult male voice intermediate between the bass and the alto or countertenor.
  2. a part sung by or written for such a voice, especially the next to the lowest part in four-part harmony.
  3. a singer with such a voice.
  4. an instrument corresponding in compass to this voice, especially the viola.
  5. the lowest-toned bell of a peal.
quality, character, or condition.

adjective

Music. of, relating to, or having the compass of a tenor.

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON AFFECT VS. EFFECT!

In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of tenor

1250–1300; <Medieval Latin, Latin: course, continuity, tone, equivalent to ten(ēre) to hold + -or-or1; replacing Middle English ten(o)ur<Anglo-French <Latin, as above
ten·or·less, adjective
tender, tenor , tenure
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for tenor

tenor
/ (ˈtɛnə) /

noun

tenorless, adjective
C13 (originally: general meaning or sense): from Old French tenour, from Latin tenor a continuous holding to a course, from tenēre to hold; musical sense via Italian tenore, referring to the voice part that was continuous, that is, to which the melody was assigned
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

Cultural definitions for tenor

tenor

The highest range of the male singing voice. (Compare baritone and bass.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Learn A New Word Right Now!