key·note | \ ˈkē-ˌnōt \

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

ARKit could recognize a specific children’s action figure and add virtual objects to the scene with which the toy could appear to interact, for example—that's basically what the LEGO app that was demonstrated at the WWDC keynote did. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "How ARKit 2 works, and why Apple is so focused on AR," 16 June 2018 This was evident at Google’s I/O keynote, where the company unveiled that its AI can now make phone calls on your behalf, booking salon appointments or restaurant reservations. Natt Garun, The Verge, "The selfishness of Google Duplex," 9 May 2018 About 5,000 people showed up to hear from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, lining up hours early to get inside, then hooting and hollering at different announcements throughout the keynote. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Despite all of the Cambridge Analytica drama, Facebook’s F8 still felt like F8," 2 May 2018 Denton Knapp delivered the keynote speech, and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing band and the Orange Empire Chorus performed. Daily Pilot Staff,, "Veterans organization remembers fallen comrades on Memorial Day in Costa Mesa," 29 May 2018 Pratt said in a keynote talk during the 15th International Planetary Probe Workshop, hosted here June 11–15 by the University of Colorado Boulder. Leonard David, Scientific American, "As Space Becomes a Busy Place, NASA Bolsters Its Planet-Contamination Police," 3 July 2018 In the keynote speech, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts and a potential presidential candidate, railed against Mr. Trump and seemed to hint at a 2020 run. Katie Rogers, New York Times, "Trump Appeals to Republicans in Las Vegas, Leaving Behind Washington’s Legislative Chaos," 23 June 2018 In a keynote speech in February in Munich, Mrs. May set her sights on establishing a future security partnership next year. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "Troubled Talks Hold Post-Brexit Security in the Balance," 23 June 2018 Most of Garcetti's keynote speech highlighted the current controversy involving children being separated from their parents upon crossing the border seeking asylum. Bayan Wang, azcentral, "LA mayor: 'In one of those cages is a young girl who could be the next mayor'," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The release news was announced by representatives from Studio Wildcard during the GDC Unreal Engine keynote this afternoon. Christopher Groux, Newsweek, "‘ARK: Survival Evolved’ Nintendo Switch Release Coming This Fall," 21 Mar. 2018 Since then, Essence Fest has evolved from big-name concert headliners to include workshops, panel discussions, and keynote speeches about politics, technology, health, style, beauty, and cooking., "Half A Million People Went To Essence Festival — & These 25 Looks Stood Out," 10 July 2018 Augmented and virtual reality expert Cathy Hackl will keynote the conference. Marco Santana,, "Designers, take note: OrlandoiX launches T-shirt design contest," 6 July 2018 The game was officially unveiled at Sony’s PlayStation E3 keynote this evening in Los Angeles with a teaser trailer. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Dark Souls creator From Software is making a VR game called Déraciné," 12 June 2018 Apple’s WWDC keynote yesterday was filled to the brim with software announcements for every Apple device from iOS phones and tablets to macOS computers. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Apple’s only new WWDC hardware are iPhone cases and Apple Watch bands," 5 June 2018 Your closing keynote conversation with Arianna was truly memorable—a perfect chaser to our mind-blowing opening day keynote with Tony Robbins. Clifton Leaf, Fortune, "Brainstorm Health: Fortune Conference Ends, Kevin Durant on Social Media, GSK Budget Demands," 21 Mar. 2018 Epic Games used a striking demo at a Game Developers Conference keynote presentation this morning to show just how much better raytracing can make real-time, interactive graphics look with top-of-the-line hardware right now. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Unreal Engine + $60,000 GPU = Amazing, real-time raytraced Star Wars [Updated]," 21 Mar. 2018 Want to have dinner next to keynote chefs and sommeliers? Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "11 Caribbean Events to Travel for in 2018," 20 Mar. 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

1 Sep 2018

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 \

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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Comments on keynote

What made you want to look up keynote? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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