intonation

noun
in·​to·​na·​tion | \ ˌin-tə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce intonation (audio) , -(ˌ)tō- \

Definition of intonation

1 : something that is intoned specifically : the opening tones of a Gregorian chant
2 : the act of intoning and especially of chanting
3 : the ability to play or sing notes in tune
4 : manner of utterance specifically : the rise and fall in pitch of the voice in speech

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Other Words from intonation

intonational \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈnā-​shnəl How to pronounce intonational (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl , -​(ˌ)tō-​ \ adjective

Examples of intonation in a Sentence

identical sentences, differing only in intonation
Recent Examples on the Web The writings of 13-year-old Tali Sorek about painting peace, and poet Marge Piercy’s intonation about letting the light from the Torah enter readers were included. Denise Coffey, courant.com, "Service Ushers In Wishes For A Good Year," 7 Oct. 2019 The poet’s own deadpan reading did not provide an answer, but Irons comes down on uncertainty with three different intonations. Lyndall Gordon, New York Times, "Jeremy Irons Breathes New Life Into ‘The Poems of T.S. Eliot’," 17 May 2018 Now being developed by a wide range of Silicon Valley titans and AI start-ups, such voice-synthesis software can copy the rhythms and intonations of a person’s voice and be used to produce convincing speech. Drew Harwell, Washington Post, "An artificial-intelligence first: Voice-mimicking software reportedly used in a major theft," 5 Sep. 2019 Double-stops proved a stumbling block for Woods, in the sonata’s first movement and throughout the recital, often turning sour in intonation. Washington Post, "A voyage of musical discovery at the Phillips Collection," 13 Sep. 2019 Now being developed by a wide range of Silicon Valley titans and AI startups, such voice-synthesis software can copy the rhythms and intonations of a person's voice and be used to produce convincing speech. Drew Harwell, Anchorage Daily News, "An artificial-intelligence first: Voice-mimicking software reportedly used in a major theft," 5 Sep. 2019 Finding her voice also meant Jacobson was able to take ownership of her songs in a way that gives them more power, both in clarity and intonation, as well as in their messaging. Britt Julious, chicagotribune.com, "Acting, honesty and a few detours lead to music, and a band named Fran," 29 Aug. 2019 Her intonation was perfect, even in the most passionate passages. cleveland.com, "Familiar works enjoy new life on revelatory night with Cleveland Orchestra," 12 Aug. 2019 Verbal markers such as intonation, prosody, and emphasis are what allow Irony Man to imbue sarcasm into conversation. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "This Eye-Rolling Robot Understands Irony and Will Sass You Hard," 13 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intonation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of intonation

1620, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for intonation

Time Traveler

The first known use of intonation was in 1620

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Statistics for intonation

Last Updated

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Intonation.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intonations. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for intonation

intonation

noun
How to pronounce intonation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of intonation

: the rise and fall in the sound of your voice when you speak

intonation

noun
in·​to·​na·​tion | \ ˌin-tə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce intonation (audio) \

Kids Definition of intonation

: the rise and fall in pitch of the voice in speech

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More from Merriam-Webster on intonation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with intonation

Spanish Central: Translation of intonation

Nglish: Translation of intonation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intonation for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about intonation

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