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

Here’s how to follow every keynote from Sony, Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Nintendo, Bethesda and basically every other big name in gaming. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Trump leaves a rocky G7 summit to meet with Kim Jong-un in Singapore," 11 June 2018 The annual developers show kicks off with a keynote from Chief Executive Tim Cook on Monday at 10 a.m. Pacific time. Hayley Tsukayama,, "Apple WWDC 2018: Siri, health and augmented reality are expected topics," 4 June 2018 Intel even brought in a 5G cell into its Computex keynote to show off the power of 5G connectivity. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel crushes Computex with a 28-core chip, a 5GHz 8086K, two new architectures and more," 4 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Thursday’s keynote panel -- Unknown Big Wins in San Diego -- highlights under-the-radar companies that had successful exits, mostly by being acquired. Mike Freeman,, "San Diego Startup Week kicks off downtown, serving up all things for entrepreneurs," 26 June 2018 Network, listen to keynote speeches from industry leaders, and learn about the latest technology and trends. Margeaux Sippell,, "Weekend business agenda," 21 June 2018 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

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

10 Nov 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).


playful or foolish behavior

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