- a medicine that invigorates or strengthens: a tonic of sulphur and molasses.
- anything invigorating physically, mentally, or morally: His cheerful greeting was a real tonic.
- quinine water.
- Music. the first degree of the scale; the keynote.
- Chiefly Eastern New England. soda pop.
- Phonetics. a tonic syllable or accent.
- pertaining to, maintaining, increasing, or restoring the tone or health of the body or an organ, as a medicine.
- invigorating physically, mentally, or morally.
- Physiology, Pathology.
- pertaining to tension, as of the muscles.
- marked by continued muscular tension: a tonic spasm.
- using differences in tone or pitch to distinguish between words that are otherwise phonemically identical: a tonic language.
- pertaining to tone or accent in speech.
- Phonetics. (of a syllable) bearing the principal stress or accent, usually accompanied by a change in pitch.
Origin of tonic
SynonymsSee more synonyms for tonic on Thesaurus.com
Regional variation note
- a combining form occurring in adjectives that correspond to nouns ending in -tonia: catatonic.
Origin of -tonic
Examples from the Web for tonic
For Feiffer, the cold isolation of the upstate New York retreat worked like a tonic.The Climax of ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’
May 14, 2014
Unfortunately, the four-time NBA All-Star was tragically known for his unofficial nickname: Vin and Tonic.Rodman’s Goon Squad Goes to North Korea
The Daily Beast
January 7, 2014
And so Europeans sweetened it, giving us so-called tonic water, the “tonic” being the antidote to malaria.
(Tonic water made today still notes “contains quinine” on the label).
The good news is that the departure of Berlusconi could be a tonic that awakens Italy from a stupor of lassitude and indifference.Italy's Troubles Are Not the Tipping Point for Global Economic Collapse
November 10, 2011
“What we want is to administer a tonic to the Conference in Milan,” he said airily.The Secret Agent
Note: Realgar: The Chinese believe that realgar is a mithridate and tonic.The Chinese Fairy Book
There was a snap and tang in the breeze which braced one like a tonic.Cy Whittaker's Place
Joseph C. Lincoln
I always felt that the sight of our hungry eyes was a tonic to him.
Its entrance into the "Western World" was a tonic to this stock.The Frontier in American History
Frederick Jackson Turner
- a medicinal preparation intended to improve and strengthen the functioning of the body or increase the feeling of wellbeing
- anything that enlivens or strengthenshis speech was a tonic to the audience
- Also called: tonic water a mineral water, usually carbonated and containing quinine and often mixed with gin or other alcoholic drinks
- the first degree of a major or minor scale and the tonal centre of a piece composed in a particular key
- a key or chord based on this
- a stressed syllable in a word
- serving to enliven and invigoratea tonic wine
- of or relating to a tone or tones
- music of or relating to the first degree of a major or minor scale
- of or denoting the general effect of colour and light and shade in a picture
- physiol of, relating to, characterized by, or affecting normal muscular or bodily tonea tonic spasm
- of or relating to stress or the main stress in a word
- denoting a tone language
Word Origin and History for tonic
1640s, "relating to or characterized by muscular tension," from Greek tonikos "of stretching," from tonos "a stretching" (see tenet). The meaning "maintaining the healthy firmness of tissues" is recorded from 1680s, first extended 1756 to "having the property of restoring to health."
"a tonic medicine," 1799, from tonic (adj.).
- Of or producing tone or tonicity in muscles or tissue.
- Characterized by continuous tension or contraction of muscles, as a convulsion or spasm.
- Producing or stimulating physical, mental, or emotional vigor.
- An agent, such as a medication, that restores or increases body tone.