- a musical sound of definite pitch, consisting of several relatively simple constituents called partial tones, the lowest of which is called the fundamental tone and the others harmonics or overtones.
- an interval equivalent to two semitones; a whole tone; a whole step.
- any of the nine melodies or tunes to which Gregorian plainsong psalms are sung.
- the normal state of tension or responsiveness of the organs or tissues of the body.
- that state of the body or of an organ in which all its functions are performed with healthy vigor.
- normal sensitivity to stimulation.
verb (used with object), toned, ton·ing.
verb (used without object), toned, ton·ing.
- to become or cause to become softened or moderated: The newspaper toned down its attack.
- Painting.to make (a color) less intense in hue; subdue.
- to give a higher or stronger tone to.
- to gain or cause to gain in tone or strength: toning up little-used muscles.
Origin of tone
Synonyms for tone
Related Words for tonestrength, timbre, inflection, accent, emphasis, resonance, style, fashion, humor, mood, quality, nature, feel, expression, character, note, trend, manner, aspect, tenor
Examples from the Web for tone
Contemporary Examples of tone
Music is a huge part of the tone of Black Dynamite overall—going back to the original 2009 movie on which the series is based.‘Black Dynamite’ Presents Police Brutality: The Musical
January 9, 2015
“Call me when the plane leaves the ground,” she said, in a tone that implied she knew her husband well.Mario Cuomo, a Frustrating Hero to Democrats, Is Dead at 82
January 2, 2015
Ramos would help set the tone of the day when he greeted the arriving students outside the school.In The Shadow of Murdered Cops
December 26, 2014
And he says that with something he does share with Christopher—a tone of absolute, self-assured certainty.The Brit Who Stormed Broadway
December 7, 2014
The tone of the declaration is radically different from “A few sentences.”How Havel Inspired the Velvet Revolution
December 6, 2014
Historical Examples of tone
"Hum," remarked Uncle Peter, in a tone to be noticed for its extreme dryness.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
"That's bad," said the station-master, in a tone of sympathy.
"You will hear from me again," he said, in a tone of menace.
"Heads for her, tails for me," he said, with some awe in his tone.
"I'll tell you how it is," said the big man in the tone of one who is willing to argue a point.Way of the Lawless
- the normal tension of a muscle at rest
- the natural firmness of the tissues and normal functioning of bodily organs in health
Word Origin for tone
mid-14c., from Old French ton (13c.), from Latin tonus "a sound, tone, accent," literally "stretching" (in Medieval Latin, a term peculiar to music), from Greek tonos "vocal pitch, raising of voice, accent, key in music," originally "a stretching, taut string," related to teinein "to stretch" (see tenet). Sense of "manner of speaking" is from c.1600. First reference to firmness of body is from 1660s.
"to impart tone to," 1811, from tone (n.). Related: Toned; toning.