over·​tone | \ ˈō-vər-ˌtōn How to pronounce overtone (audio) \

Definition of overtone

1a : one of the higher tones produced simultaneously with the fundamental and that with the fundamental comprise a complex musical tone : harmonic sense 1a
2 : the color of the light reflected (as by a paint)
3 : a secondary effect, quality, or meaning : suggestion, connotation

Examples of overtone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Stylistically, Cotler drew on everything from Jewish niggun (wordless song) to South Indian vocal percussion, Celtic lament to Tuvan overtone singing. New York Times, 22 Oct. 2021 The choreography is often slow and ritualistic, and some scenes include tribal drums, adding an overtone of spiritualism. Jeremy Hallock, Dallas News, 31 Aug. 2021 On the pandemic, polarized views Addressing the pandemic is colored by a political overtone that other rules and regulations to protect the common good are not. Susan Page, USA TODAY, 22 Aug. 2021 Vibrant, mineral-accented, strawberry, red currant and tangerine scents carry a suave oral overtone in this special rosé. Amber Love Bond, Forbes, 26 June 2021 Meanwhile, the Moon enters beautiful Taurus, adding an earthy and sensual overtone to our demeanor. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, 6 Sep. 2020 The sharp mustard overtone is the perfect foil for the creamy and sweet-sour combination that comes from a mixture of mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. cleveland, 15 June 2020 Cleverly written with poetic overtones, the narrative provides engaging twists and turns. Monitor Reviewers, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 May 2020 For the very sound of the vibraphone, with its ringing tones and overtones, beguiles and delights the ear, particularly when played as fluidly as Tukes. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, 16 Oct. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overtone.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of overtone

1867, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of overtone was in 1867

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Cite this Entry

“Overtone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overtone. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for overtone


over·​tone | \ ˈō-vər-ˌtōn How to pronounce overtone (audio) \

Medical Definition of overtone

: one of the higher tones produced simultaneously with the fundamental and that with the fundamental comprise a complex musical tone


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