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

Photo: Bridgeman Images These titles and subtitles supply keynotes to Alexander’s story—essential ones, for absent such a key, the saga becomes both bewildering and tediously episodic. James Romm, WSJ, "‘Soldier, Priest, and God’ Review: The Emperor Divine," 13 Dec. 2018 After making the trek to Brooklyn to see the keynote in person, Jeanine got early access to the new MacBook and found the Air may be the perfect companion to her larger Pro. Teen Vogue, "MacBook Air Review: YouTuber Jeanine Amapola Shares the Best Parts of the New Laptop," 16 Nov. 2018 The moment when Steve Jobs pulled the first MacBook Air out of an envelope in the 2008 keynote and shifted the idea of a laptop from a brick to an ultra-portable machine has always stuck with me, and MacBook Airs have served me well over the years. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "So, About That Retina Macbook Air Keyboard," 30 Oct. 2018 Informality was the rule, gravity the keynote in the Rhea county courthouse where the testing of the state anti-evolution law began in an auditorium packed with eager spectators., "July 11, 1925: Scopes trial begins," 11 July 2018 Last week Apple broke from tradition and hosted an October event to announce new products in addition to its usual September keynote, where the iPhone X's successors and a new Apple Watch were announced. Hanna Howard, Teen Vogue, "iPad Pro Review: Danielle Haim and Ariel Rechtshaid Share Their Thoughts on Apple’s New Device," 7 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, Samsung is holding a developer conference next month, where Samsung Mobile CEO DJ Koh has hinted at giving a keynote previewing the company’s foldable phone. Dami Lee, The Verge, "Huawei confirms it’s working on a 5G foldable phone," 19 Oct. 2018 William Sean Lee, Joint Force Headquarters Chaplain, Maryland National Guard, delivering the keynote. Chris Kaltenbach,, "Ne-Yo, 'Don Quixote' and celebrating the savior of Little Italy: the best of this week's arts and entertainment scene in Baltimore," 27 May 2018 London mayor to give keynote at SXSW London Mayor Sadiq Khan will make a keynote speech at the South by Southwest conference in Austin on Monday. Editors, USA TODAY, "5 things you need to know Monday," 12 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Following September’s keynote that brought us three new iPhones, only a month and a half later, Apple execs have again taken the stage to announce more products. Hanna Howard, Teen Vogue, "New MacBook Air Announced at October 2018 Apple Event," 30 Oct. 2018 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

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

6 Jan 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 \

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

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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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