- 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.
- tone arm,
- tone cluster,
- tone color,
- tone colour,
- tone control
Origin of tone
Examples from the Web for tone
“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|Eleanor Clift|January 2, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Ramos would help set the tone of the day when he greeted the arriving students outside the school.
And he says that with something he does share with Christopher—a tone of absolute, self-assured certainty.
The tone of the declaration is radically different from “A few sentences.”
Far from a rant, her tone throughout is cool and methodical, and her critiques are couched more in sorrow than in anger.Was Reporter Sharyl Attkisson Too Right-Wing for CBS?|Lloyd Grove|October 29, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Without looking up, or changing his tone, he asked the child if she had had a fall since the cast had been changed.An American Suffragette|Isaac N. Stevens
"I don't recall having——" Then he gets a good look at Old Hickory, and his tone changes sudden.Torchy, Private Sec.|Sewell Ford
"Exactly," said Dr. Brighton-Pomfrey in a tone that defined his own position with remorseless clearness.Soul of a Bishop|H. G. Wells
The tone of a good kettledrum is sonorous, rich, and of great power.
Miriam spoke unguardedly, but Evie was too preoccupied to notice the bitterness of the tone.The Wild Olive|Basil King
- 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.