- any sound considered with reference to its quality, pitch, strength, source, etc.: shrill tones.
- quality or character of sound.
- vocal sound; the sound made by vibrating muscular bands in the larynx.
- a particular quality, way of sounding, modulation, or intonation of the voice as expressive of some meaning, feeling, spirit, etc.: a tone of command.
- an accent peculiar to a person, people, locality, etc., or a characteristic mode of sounding words in speech.
- stress of voice on a syllable of a word.
- Linguistics. a musical pitch or movement in pitch serving to distinguish two words otherwise composed of the same sounds, as in Chinese.
- 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.
- a quality of color with reference to the degree of absorption or reflection of light; a tint or shade; value.
- that distinctive quality by which colors differ from one another in addition to their differences indicated by chroma, tint, shade; a slight modification of a given color; hue: green with a yellowish tone.
- Art. the prevailing effect of harmony of color and values.
- 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.
- a normal healthy mental condition.
- a particular mental state or disposition; spirit, character, or tenor.
- a particular style or manner, as of writing or speech; mood: the macabre tone of Poe's stories.
- prevailing character or style, as of manners, morals, or philosophical outlook: the liberal tone of the 1960s.
- style, distinction, or elegance.
- to sound with a particular tone.
- to give the proper tone to (a musical instrument).
- to modify the tone or general coloring of.
- to give the desired tone to (a painting, drawing, etc.).
- Photography. to change the color of (a print), especially by chemical means.
- to render as specified in tone or coloring.
- to modify the tone or character of.
- to give or restore physical or mental tone to.
- to take on a particular tone; assume color or tint.
- tone down,
- 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.
- tone up,
- to give a higher or stronger tone to.
- to gain or cause to gain in tone or strength: toning up little-used muscles.
- tone (in) with, to harmonize in tone or coloring; blend: The painting tones with the room.
Origin of tone
SynonymsSee more synonyms for tone on Thesaurus.com
- (Theobald) Wolfe,1763–98, Irish nationalist and martyr for independence.
Examples from the Web for 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
"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
- sound with reference to quality, pitch, or volume
- short for tone colour
- US and Canadian another word for note (def. 10)
- (in acoustic analysis) a sound resulting from periodic or regular vibrations, composed either of a simple sinusoidal waveform (pure tone) or of several such waveforms superimposed upon one main one (compound tone)
- an interval of a major second; whole tone
- Also called: Gregorian tone any of several plainsong melodies or other chants used in the singing of psalms
- linguistics any of the pitch levels or pitch contours at which a syllable may be pronounced, such as high tone, falling tone, etc
- the quality or character of a sounda nervous tone of voice
- general aspect, quality, or styleI didn't like the tone of his speech
- high quality or styleto lower the tone of a place
- the quality of a given colour, as modified by mixture with white or black; shade; tinta tone of red
- the normal tension of a muscle at rest
- the natural firmness of the tissues and normal functioning of bodily organs in health
- the overall effect of the colour values and gradations of light and dark in a picture
- photog a colour or shade of colour, including black or grey, of a particular area on a negative or positive that can be distinguished from surrounding lighter or darker areas
- (intr often foll by with) to be of a matching or similar tone (to)the curtains tone with the carpet
- (tr) to give a tone to or correct the tone of
- photog (tr) to soften or change the colour of the tones of (a photographic image) by chemical means
- (tr) to give greater firmness or strength to (the body or a part of the body)
- an archaic word for intone
- (Theobald) Wolfe. 1763–98, Irish nationalist, who founded (1791) the Society of United Irishmen and led (1798) French military forces to Ireland. He was captured and sentenced to death but committed suicide
Word Origin and History 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.
- The quality or character of sound.
- The character of voice expressing an emotion.
- The normal state of elastic tension or partial contraction in resting muscles.
- Normal firmness of a tissue or an organ.
- To give tone or firmness to.