Nearby words

  1. tunbridge ware,
  2. tunbridge wells,
  3. tundish,
  4. tundra,
  5. tundra swan,
  6. tune in,
  7. tune out,
  8. tune up,
  9. tune, tommy,
  10. tune-up


Origin of tune

1350–1400; Middle English (noun); unexplained variant of tone

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for tune in

tune in

verb (adverb often foll by to)

to adjust (a radio or television) to receive (a station or programme)
slang to make or become more aware, knowledgeable, etc (about)



a melody, esp one for which harmony is not essential
the most important part in a musical texturethe cello has the tune at that point
the condition of producing accurately pitched notes, intervals, etc (esp in the phrases in tune, out of tune)he can't sing in tune
accurate correspondence of pitch and intonation between instruments (esp in the phrases in tune, out of tune)the violin is not in tune with the piano
the correct adjustment of a radio, television, or some other electronic circuit with respect to the required frequency (esp in the phrases in tune, out of tune)
a frame of mind; disposition or mood
obsolete a musical sound; note
call the tune to be in control of the proceedings
change one's tune, sing another tune or sing another a different tune to alter one's attitude or tone of speech
to the tune of informal to the amount or extent ofcosts to the tune of a hundred pounds


to adjust (a musical instrument or a changeable part of one) to a certain pitch
to adjust (a note, etc) so as to bring it into harmony or concord
(tr) to adapt or adjust (oneself); attuneto tune oneself to a slower life
(tr often foll by up) to make fine adjustments to (an engine, machine, etc) to obtain optimum performance
electronics to adjust (one or more circuits) for resonance at a desired frequency
obsolete to utter (something) musically or in the form of a melody; sing
tune someone grief Southern African slang to annoy or harass someone

Word Origin for tune

C14: variant of tone

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

Word Origin and History for tune in
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with tune in

tune in


Adjust a receiver to receive a particular program or signals at a particular frequency, as in Tune in tomorrow, folks, for more up-to-date news. [Early 1900s]


Be aware or responsive, as in She's really tuned in to teenagers. [1920s] For an antonym, see tune out.


In addition to the idioms beginning with tune

  • tune in
  • tune out
  • tune up

also see:

  • call the tune
  • carry a tune
  • change one's tune
  • dance to another tune
  • in tune
  • to the tune of
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.