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

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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 Some events, including Asante’s keynote, have been scheduled after 5 p.m. to encourage virtual participation from community members. Post-tribune Staff,, "Community news," 26 Mar. 2021 At the opening keynote for Microsoft Ignite—the company’s first such experience designed for mixed reality—Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman announced Mesh, a mixed reality platform built on Azure. Jesse Damiani, Forbes, "Microsoft Launches Mesh For Remote Collaboration And Shared Mixed Reality Experiences," 2 Mar. 2021 While Alex Kipman was not volumetrically captured for the presentation's entirety, most of the keynote itself was spatially immersive. Anshel Sag, Forbes, "Microsoft's Mesh Platform For Mixed Reality Puts Microsoft At The Forefront Of XR Collaboration," 3 Mar. 2021 On Friday night, Gosar's keynote was followed by a speech by Fuentes that was filled with white grievance and far-right anti-immigration rhetoric. Will Steakin, ABC News, "GOP congressman headlines conference where organizers push white nationalist rhetoric," 27 Feb. 2021 The virtual event will feature keynote speakers Ashley Powell and Jessica Hazeltine, followed by two breakout sessions and a Teen Q&A. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "A time to sow: Whit & Whimsey," 5 Mar. 2021 In another keynote that morning, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, addressed the problems of the day head on, talking about the recent SolarWinds hack and the far-reaching implications of this kind of cyberespionage. Lauren Goode, Wired, "Virtual CES Was As Surreal As We All Suspected It Would Be," 15 Jan. 2021 Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon 888 and its basic capabilities at its virtual Snapdragon Technology Summit opening keynote on Tuesday. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Inside the Snapdragon 888: The features you'll find in 2021's premium phones," 2 Dec. 2020 Charles Isbell’s opening keynote was tour-de-force that made great use of the pre-recorded video format, including some basic special effects edits and cameos by many other leading A.I. researchers. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "A.I. needs to get real—and other takeways from this year’s NeurIPS," 15 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany will keynote the Center for Christian Virtue’s Cincinnati and Columbus galas this year. cleveland, "President Joe Biden adds Ohio to stimulus tour: Capitol Letter," 18 Mar. 2021 Next month, Pence will keynote a dinner hosted by the Palmetto Family Council, a Pence aide told The Associated Press on Sunday. Meg Kinnard, Star Tribune, "Pence to give speech in SC, his 1st since leaving office," 8 Mar. 2021 Next month, Pence will keynote a dinner hosted by the Palmetto Family Council, a Pence aide told The Associated Press on Sunday. Meg Kinnard, USA TODAY, "Pence to speak to South Carolina conservatives in his first address since leaving office," 8 Mar. 2021 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

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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Time Traveler for keynote

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The first known use of keynote was in 1677

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Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Keynote.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for keynote

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

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