mono·​tone | \ ˈmä-nə-ˌtōn How to pronounce monotone (audio) \

Definition of monotone

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a succession of syllables, words, or sentences in one unvaried key or pitch
2 : a single unvaried musical tone
3 : a tedious sameness or reiteration
4 : a person unable to produce or to distinguish between musical intervals



Definition of monotone (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : having a uniform color

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Examples of monotone in a Sentence

Noun She read the story in a dull monotone. He sang in a soft, low monotone. She spoke in a monotone voice.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Paulson traps herself in a kind of respectful monotone, playing every corner of Mildred’s puzzle-piece psyche with bland cool. Darren Franich,, "Ratched ratchets up the crazy and goes off the deep end: Review," 14 Sep. 2020 The fictional host, David Pascall — voiced by David Sidorov in an earnest NPR-esque monotone — enlists a supercomputer to help him find a murder case that's tailor-made for a podcast investigation. Emma Dibdin New York Times, Star Tribune, "Podcasts offer comedy fans laughs with Hollywood on hiatus," 2 Aug. 2020 Johnny Flynn’s affectless monotone was crisp, clear, and cheery. Adrienne So, Wired, "Just Get a Soundbar Already," 1 Apr. 2020 Sand turns to actual grass, cactuses turn to unlikely palm trees, and monotones turn to rewardingly verdant color. Danielle Pergament, New York Times, "‘Do Not Touch the Flowers!’ One Family’s Eco-Adventure in the American Southwest," 16 Mar. 2020 Barkley’s off the cuff rants and musings are more intellectually stimulating and truthful than the president’s monotone reading of words from a teleprompter. J.d. Crowe |, al, "Charles Barkley should be in charge ... of everything," 13 Mar. 2020 Stylistically, the president himself seemed ill at ease in the formal setting, offering a monotone and labored delivery from behind the Resolute Desk, twiddling his thumbs and even, in moments, struggling to read words on the teleprompter. Author: Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "Ten minutes at the teleprompter: Inside Trump’s failed attempt to calm coronavirus fears," 13 Mar. 2020 Slavs do battle with monotone hordes, and then with each other. Sophie Pinkham, The New Yorker, "The Playful Propaganda of “The History of Ukraine”," 4 Feb. 2020 Todd Barry’s flawless delivery and sarcastic wit are too often referred to as monotone. Jeremy Hallock, Dallas News, "Only Todd Barry would bring a ‘Stadium Tour’ to the Texas Theatre," 25 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In the previous iteration of Your News Update, transitions between stories were handled by Google Assistant, which would announce the outlet behind each story and its date of publication in a monotone robotic voice. Boone Ashworth, Wired, "Google Wants to Remix News Radio Just for You," 2 Sep. 2020 McKinney did not speak in court other than to answer Judge Jeffrey Holmes’ questions in a monotone voice. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "STEM School shooting suspect Alec McKinney pleads guilty to murder, other charges," 7 Feb. 2020 Even McCarthy clowned him by imitating the eldest Kardashian’s famously monotone voice. Rachel Yang,, "The worst guesses on The Masked Singer season 3 so far," 3 Apr. 2020 Despite beginning with a historically diverse field, the 2020 primary candidates are now relatively monotone both in their melanin levels and their connections to racial minority groups. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Democrats Chasing the White Moderate Vote With White Moderate Candidates Ignore People of Color," 26 Feb. 2020 Teammates smacked his helmet in celebration and fans showered him with cheers, yet the noise all blurred into a slow, monotone hum. Jesse Dougherty,, "Former Alabama player Les Williams is one of more than 100 suing NCAA over brain injuries," 3 July 2018 But the internet fell in love with Larry — the soft, steady, monotone narrator of the middle-of-the-night tsunami scare that sent hundreds of Alaskans evacuating for higher ground. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "How waiting for a tsunami that didn’t come turned a small-town Alaska man into an internet hero," 24 Jan. 2018 The clean, crisp and monotone interior practically looks brand new, in a tannish, light brown hue. Houston Chronicle, "Heidi's customs & classics: 1951 Chevy Styleline Deluxe is 'all business when it comes to performance'," 5 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'monotone.' 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 monotone


1644, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1760, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for monotone


Greek monotonos monotonous

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Learn More about monotone

Time Traveler for monotone

Time Traveler

The first known use of monotone was in 1644

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Statistics for monotone

Last Updated

20 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Monotone.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for monotone


How to pronounce monotone (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of monotone

: a way of talking or singing without raising or lowering the sound of your voice

More from Merriam-Webster on monotone

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for monotone

Nglish: Translation of monotone for Spanish Speakers

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