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 One keynote of his mind has been his interest in deceit, his perceptions about the use of flimflam in modern life…— Stanley Kauffmann
2 music : the first and harmonically fundamental tone of a scale
3 : keynote address Following Tuesday morning's keynote, sessions progress through all areas.— Jim Rosenberg Sprinting from workshops to motivational keynotes featuring famous faces and wannabes, I came away inspired and armed with information…— Peggy Klaus


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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from keynote


keynoter noun

Examples of keynote in a Sentence

Noun 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 Others remarked on the fast pace and smooth transitions of Microsoft’s WWDC virtual keynote and, yes, the aerial drone shots. Lauren Goode, Wired, "Virtual Conferences Mean All-Access—Except When They Don't," 27 June 2020 Forcing myself to parade my 9-month pregnancy, deliver the keynote, support our team, and work the halls as the host, was my way of feeling like a superwoman, which was mostly about rubbing my own ego. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "The top tech stock during the pandemic isn’t the one you think it is," 23 June 2020 But Apple executives did take a few brief moments out of today's WWDC keynote to describe some new features that are coming alongside iOS 14 and tvOS 14 this fall. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "tvOS, surround-sound AirPods, and more: The other big WWDC announcements," 22 June 2020 Scribble supported English and Chinese in the demo during the WWDC keynote. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "Here’s everything Apple announced at WWDC 2020," 22 June 2020 Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off with a keynote by CEO Tim Cook on Monday, will have a different vibe. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Live blog: What you need to know from Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.," 22 June 2020 Good handling is the keynote, backed up by sophisticated creature comforts and complemented by fuel efficiency and a low price. Michael Jordan, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1982 Toyota Celica GT-S Highlights the Joys of Rear-Wheel Drive," 19 June 2020 Apple will still kick it off with a keynote, which will likely focus on software, at 1 p.m. (ET) on June 22. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "Here’s what we hope to see in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14," 17 June 2020 In a statement released Thursday, Apple said its conference will kick off on June 22 with a keynote at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT). Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Apple unveils WWDC schedule, including opening keynote on June 22," 12 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Reverend Al Sharpton is planning to keynote a Juneteenth rally in downtown Tulsa on the eve of Mr. Trump's event, CBS News correspondent Nikole Killion reports. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Alabama voting restrictions struck down ahead of July Senate runoff," 16 June 2020 Last month Sununu attended Trump’s event in Manchester and invited Vice President Mike Pence to the state to keynote a major fund-raiser for his own reelection. James Pindell,, "Ivanka Trump and Steve Mnuchin head to N.H. to praise tax law," 17 Apr. 2018 Another Fox contributor, Tomi Lahren, keynoted the event in 2018. Paul Farhi, Washington Post, "Fox News personalities continue to stump for GOP candidates," 3 Dec. 2019 The interview follows Apple's Monday keynote kicking off the Worldwide Developers Conference, during which the tech giant introduced iOS 13, the mobile operating system powering its popular iPhones. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Tim Cook disputes claim Apple is a monopoly but says tech giant 'should be scrutinized'," 3 June 2019 Trump will fly to Austin on Sunday to keynote the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention to tout progress on trade deals with China, Mexico and Canada. Arnessa Garrett, Dallas News, "Abbott honors hero of church shooting, Bloomberg campaigns in Dallas, craft brewers hail tax break," 14 Jan. 2020 Critics of her appearance and keynote speech have been played up by media foes of the White House. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Ivanka Trump: With 7M job openings, ‘every American who wants to work can’," 7 Jan. 2020 The day’s keynote panel, moderated by Teng Chamcharus of the Smithsonian, featured leaders from outside the traditional museum field whose work focuses on serving communities. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian Magazine, "Fifty Years Ago, the Idea of a Museum for the People Came of Age," 27 Dec. 2019 Suskind and Katherine Magnuson, director of the Institute on Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, keynoted the session. Alan J. Borsuk, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Borsuk: Early brain development is crucial to a child's future. What will it take to close the prekindergarten gap?," 6 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of keynote


1677, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1877, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about keynote

Time Traveler for keynote

Time Traveler

The first known use of keynote was in 1677

See more words from the same year

Statistics for keynote

Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Keynote.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for keynote


How to pronounce keynote (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on keynote

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for keynote

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with keynote

Spanish Central: Translation of keynote

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

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!