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

While not a campaign visit, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., made a stop to Alabama in 2019 -- to deliver the keynote speech at the National Baptist Convention USA’s winter meeting at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in January. Howard Koplowitz |, al, "Joe Biden to make 2020 campaign stop in Alabama later this month," 3 Sep. 2019 Uncle Nearest founder Fawn Weaver will also give a keynote presentation at 6 p.m. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "'We can't forget': Kentucky is (slowly) recognizing the role of slaves in bourbon's legacy," 27 June 2019 As the head of the biggest U.S. conglomerate, the GE chief was traditionally the star attraction, holding court and giving the keynote presentation to close the three-day meeting. Thomas Gryta And Ted Mann, WSJ, "GE Powered the American Century—Then It Burned Out," 14 Dec. 2018 Apple didn’t leave its HomePod smart speaker out of today’s big iPhone event, with CEO Tim Cook sneaking in a few new features for the product at the tail end of the keynote presentation. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Apple adds lyric search, phone calls, and multiple timers to the HomePod," 12 Sep. 2018 The company’s annual Wordwide Developer Conference kicks off with a two-hour keynote presentation on Monday, June 4 at 10 am Pacific (1 pm Eastern). Wired Staff, WIRED, "WWDC 2018 Liveblog: News and Updates From Apple’s Keynote," 4 June 2018 The conference forum will include keynotes and panels from industry experts, along with legislative updates from policy makers including Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton. From News Reports, Houston Chronicle, "Planned warehouse to be biggest commercial building in Deer Park," 31 July 2019 Intended as an entry point to gaming that upends conventions and seeks new ranges of emotional expression, Sky was revealed during Apple's iPhone keynote in 2017 as a mobile-first game and an iOS exclusive at launch. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Journey creator’s Sky debuts on iPhone and iPad," 19 July 2019 Innopower Indy is offering an additional two days of meetings July 19-20 at the Indiana Convention Center featuring keynote sessions, panel discussions, interactive workshops and pitch competitions. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "Everything you need to know about Indiana Black Expo's Summer Celebration in Indianapolis," 10 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The announcement was made by Youtube’s Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan, who briefly spoke about the issue at YouTube’s VidCon keynote this evening, where both creators and industry insiders were gathered in Anaheim, California. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "YouTube drafting ‘creator-on-creator harassment’ rules after Steven Crowder incident," 12 July 2019 In panels and keynote speeches Tuesday, speakers swapped strategies and encouraged local leaders to look across the country for creative solutions. Melissa Repko, Dallas News, "Some Dallas area residents don't have reliable internet access. The Dallas Fed wants to change that," 6 Aug. 2019 As a practicing Catholic, Swain had been awed by Hayhoe’s keynote the day before. Dan Zak, Washington Post, "One of America’s top climate scientists is an evangelical Christian. She’s on a mission to convert skeptics.," 15 July 2019 For the first time, Golf Channel televised a portion of it as well, including all of Mia Hamm’s keynote. Rob Sauerhaft, USA TODAY, "Through professional golf, KPMG empowers women on and off the course," 21 June 2019 In a show of party unity Buchanan was awarded the opening night keynote at that year’s GOP convention. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "Trump campaign takes steps to prevent a challenge within GOP," 4 Feb. 2019 Although Apple’s WWDC keynotes historically focus on software, hardware played a major role this year, thanks to the Apple Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Apple's Week Was Dominated by WWDC, Regulators, and a Mac Surprise," 8 June 2019 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

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

15 Sep 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

What made you want to look up keynote? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

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