key·​note | \ ˈkē-ˌnōt How to pronounce keynote (audio) \

Definition of keynote

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the fundamental or central fact, idea, or mood sadness is the keynote of this little collectionBooks Abroad
2 : the first and harmonically fundamental tone of a scale


keynoted; keynoting; keynotes

Definition of keynote (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to deliver the keynote address at
2 : to set the keynote of

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Other Words from keynote


keynoter noun

Examples of keynote in a Sentence


Humor is the keynote of the play. the need for a greater sense of self-reliance is the keynote of his self-help message

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In his keynote speech to creators at VidCon, YouTube Chief Product Officer Mohan spent little time talking about the money his network pays out to the creator community each year, their portion of the ad revenues. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "YouTube just made it easier to quit your job," 13 July 2019 In a keynote speech at the 1996 conference on Object-Oriented Programs, Systems, Languages and Applications (OOPSLA), Alexander asked the programmers the same questions architects have found challenging. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "Let Christopher Alexander design your life," 11 July 2019 Aside from the music lineup, 2019 features a keynote speech from Michelle Obama, alongside the fest's usual emphasis on lifestyle touchstones like business, beauty, cuisine, and social justice through its vendors, panels, and exhibitions. Chris Payne, Billboard, "What Does It Mean to Be an Independent Festival in 2019?," 26 June 2019 The global icon and bestselling author will take part in a special keynote conversation on the Superdome mainstage on July 6. Morgan Paige, Essence, "Barack And Michelle Obama To Develop Podcasts For Spotify," 7 June 2019 During the keynote at Amazon's Re:Mars conference on Tuesday, the actor announced the launch of the Footprint Coalition, an organization aimed at using advanced tech to improve the environment. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "Netflix Is Making a Magic: The Gathering Animated Series," 6 June 2019 This morning in San Jose, CA, Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered a keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, where thousands of coders and creators the world over are convening for a week of tech sessions, labs, consultations, and guest talks. Anabel Pasarow,, "Apple Says Goodbye To iTunes & Announces A Ton Of Cool New Features — Here's The Lowdown," 4 June 2019 The software maker used a Surface Hub 2 during a keynote at the Microsoft Ignite conference today. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Microsoft demonstrates Surface Hub 2 and its rotating display," 24 Sep. 2018 Accompanied by 15 active and former Patriot players, Kraft will deliver the keynote speech at a lavish ceremony Thursday night hosted by comic Martin Short. Aron Heller, Houston Chronicle, "Israel honors Patriots owner Robert Kraft amid solicitation case," 20 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In a show of party unity Buchanan was awarded the opening night keynote at that year’s GOP convention. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "Trump campaign takes steps to prevent a challenge within GOP," 4 Feb. 2019 Although Apple’s WWDC keynotes historically focus on software, hardware played a major role this year, thanks to the Apple Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Apple's Week Was Dominated by WWDC, Regulators, and a Mac Surprise," 8 June 2019 The event will also be at the Town & Country Convention Center in Mission Valley and Lunden’s keynote presentation will be webcast in Escondido. Linda Mcintosh,, "Volunteers glean fruit to donate to food banks," 25 June 2018 Friday's QuakeCon keynote included a 15-minute Doom Eternal gameplay premiere, showing off the idTech7 engine in action for the first time. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Doom Eternal ushers in idTech 7, bloody new powers," 10 Aug. 2018 Last year’s keynote was more focused on developments in artificial intelligence. Washington Post,, "At Google, ‘responsibility’ upstages new technology," 8 May 2018 Nvidia didn’t pull any punches during its big CES 2019 keynote on Sunday night. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Nvidia reveals RTX laptop GPUs, FreeSync support for GeForce graphics cards," 7 Jan. 2019 For the last few years, former chief executive Brian Krzanich’s keynotes at the Consumer Electronics Show were a circus of drones and sensors. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel makes Bob Swan its permanent CEO, maintaining a slow, steady course away from the PC," 31 Jan. 2019 Apple’s Tuesday keynote took place in an affluent but not alienatingly so neighborhood, just a few hundred feet from a Target, and the luxury apartment building Tavi Gevinson used to do sponcon for, and Brooklyn’s second Apple Store. Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox, "Silicon Valley brings its “humanist,” “minimalist” aesthetic to Brooklyn.," 31 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'keynote.' 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 keynote


1677, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1877, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Statistics for keynote

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for keynote

The first known use of keynote was in 1677

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More Definitions for keynote



English Language Learners Definition of keynote

: the most important idea or part of something


key·​note | \ ˈkē-ˌnōt How to pronounce keynote (audio) \

Kids Definition of keynote

1 : the first tone of a scale fundamental to harmony
2 : the fundamental fact, idea, or mood

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More from Merriam-Webster on keynote

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with keynote

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for keynote

Spanish Central: Translation of keynote

Nglish: Translation of keynote for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about keynote

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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