intonation

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

Definition of intonation

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

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Other Words from intonation

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

Examples of intonation in a Sentence

identical sentences, differing only in intonation
Recent Examples on the Web The first violins had some intonation issues, particularly in their upper register. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "The Dallas Symphony gives the Texas premiere of a genre-hopping double concerto," 10 Apr. 2021 Word choice, speech rate, intonation patterns, accent – these can all change in response to different interlocutors. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, "Conversation starter: Why we mirror speech," 6 Apr. 2021 The accent marks used in the English alphabet to convey the unique intonation of the Navajo language cannot be read by the computer languages Perseverance uses. David Bressan, Forbes, "NASA’s Perseverance Rover Team Names Geological Features On Mars With Words From The Navajo Language," 12 Mar. 2021 The accent marks used in the English alphabet to convey the unique intonation of the Navajo language cannot be read by the computer languages Perseverance uses. Mallika Kallingal, CNN, "NASA is naming the rocks and soil on Mars in the Navajo language," 12 Mar. 2021 But the strings’ intonation was sometimes off, and motifs tossed between instruments weren’t always at the same volume. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "Review: Voices of Change and Dallas Chamber Music Society serve up modern American works," 10 Mar. 2021 Hampton, who was raised in Chicago by parents who moved from Louisiana during the Great Migration, was known for his sonorous, idiosyncratic intonation. New York Times, "How Daniel Kaluuya Makes His Characters Come Alive," 4 Mar. 2021 Their behavior, intonation, and speech is fed to an algorithm that assigns certain traits and qualities. Will Knight, Wired, "Job Screening Service Halts Facial Analysis of Applicants," 12 Jan. 2021 Theatrical wonderment can be heard in Apple’s cadence and intonation through the track, which remains one of her signature moves. The Christian Science Monitor, "From H.E.R. to Taylor Swift, women deliver the best songs of 2020," 18 Dec. 2020

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 2

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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

22 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intonation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intonation. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for intonation

intonation

noun

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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Comments on intonation

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