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tenor

play
noun ten·or \ ˈte-nər \

Definition of tenor

1 a :the highest natural adult male singing voice; also :a person having this voice
b :the voice part next to the lowest in a 4-part chorus
c :a member of a family of instruments having a range next lower than that of the alto
d :the melodic line usually forming the cantus firmus in medieval music
2 a :the drift of something spoken or written :purport
b :an exact copy of a writing :transcript
c :the concept, object, or person meant in a metaphor
3 :a continuance in a course, movement, or activity
4 :habitual condition :character

Examples of tenor in a Sentence

  1. He has a high, lilting tenor.

  2. She asked the tenors to sing the line again.

  3. The tenor of his remarks is clear.

Recent Examples of tenor from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of tenor

Middle English tenour, from Anglo-French, from Latin tenor uninterrupted course, from tenēre to hold — more at thin

Synonym Discussion of tenor

tendency, trend, drift, tenor, current mean movement in a particular direction. tendency implies an inclination sometimes amounting to an impelling force.
    • a general tendency toward inflation
trend applies to the general direction maintained by a winding or irregular course.
    • the long-term trend of the stock market is upward
drift may apply to a tendency determined by external forces
    • the drift of the population away from large cities
or it may apply to an underlying or obscure trend of meaning or discourse.
    • got the drift of her argument
tenor stresses a clearly perceptible direction and a continuous, undeviating course.
    • the tenor of the times
current implies a clearly defined but not necessarily unalterable course.
    • an encounter that changed the current of my life

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tenor

adjective

Definition of tenor

:relating to or having the range or part of a tenor

Examples of tenor in a Sentence

  1. Verdi wrote some difficult tenor parts.

  2. She plays the tenor sax.

First Known Use of tenor

1522


TENOR Defined for English Language Learners

tenor

play
noun

Definition of tenor for English Language Learners

  • : the highest adult male singing voice; also : a singer who has such a voice

  • : the general or basic quality or meaning of something


tenor

adjective

Definition of tenor for English Language Learners

  • : having a range that is lower than an alto and higher than a baritone


TENOR Defined for Kids

tenor

play
noun ten·or \ ˈte-nər \

Definition of tenor for Students

1 :the next to the lowest part in harmony having four parts
2 :the highest male singing voice
3 :a singer or an instrument having a tenor range or part


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