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

During a keynote at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple took the wraps off several new products, including updates to its various operating systems. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Apple WWDC: Apple unveils Memoji, new privacy features as part of iOS 12," 4 June 2018 Epic addressed that during the keynote as well though, noting that Metro Exodus sold 2.5 times as many copies on the Epic Games Store in its first few weeks as Last Light sold on Steam in a similar period in 2013. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Obsidian's Outer Worlds and Remedy's Control lead a new wave of Epic Games Store exclusives," 20 Mar. 2019 His speech there drew buzzy comparisons to the 2004 keynote by another rising star: Barack Obama. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Julián Castro Joins the Pack," 13 Jan. 2019 Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News The day before his November 2017 keynote, Mr. Jassy previewed his speech with venture-capital firms in a windowless Las Vegas conference room, two attendees said. Laura Stevens, WSJ, "‘You’re Stupid if You Don’t Get Scared’: When Amazon Goes From Partner to Rival," 1 June 2018 Google likes to keep the I/O schedule vague before the keynote, but there are a few sessions that suggest Google will talk a lot about Material Design 2. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google I/O 2018 preview—What we’re expecting from Google’s big show," 30 Apr. 2018 Apple officially unveiled the iPhone Class of 2018 during its annual keynote event on Wednesday. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "The New iPhone XR Comes in 6 Colors and Is (Relatively) Affordable," 12 Sep. 2018 The event, which will feature a keynote by Monero wizard @FluffyPony, is a reminder of how the crypto community is thriving on both coasts—and many other places in between. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "The Ledger: Who's the Sucker at the Token Table?," 11 May 2018 On Thursday, she is set to attend a round table with high school leaders before a press conference, and then a keynote at Mount Holyoke College. Cristela Guerra,, "San Juan, P.R., mayor lifts up young women in Holyoke," 26 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

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

12 May 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

Comments on keynote

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one that collects or salvages junk

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