tenor

noun
ten·or | \ˈte-nər \

Definition of tenor 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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

2a : 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

tenor

adjective

Definition of tenor (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Choose the Right Synonym for tenor

Noun

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

Examples of tenor in a Sentence

Noun

He has a high, lilting tenor. She asked the tenors to sing the line again. The tenor of his remarks is clear.

Adjective

Verdi wrote some difficult tenor parts. She plays the tenor sax.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The tenor of every conversation becomes more serious. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Former Bear Thomas Jones' advice for NFL rookies: 'Stay in your playbook'," 9 May 2018 Unless the tenor of the arguments gets much worse, continue to give your neighbors the illusion of privacy, that blessed illusion that allows unacquainted adults to share living space without shame. Robin Abrahams, BostonGlobe.com, "We can hear our neighbors’ loud fighting. Should we intervene?," 3 May 2018 The whole tenor of the country now is to question authority. Sue Kiesewetter, Cincinnati.com, "Quality of officers is retiring Chief Dickey's proudest achievement," 23 Feb. 2018 The start of Twins of Evil: The Second Coming Tour was, by contrast, all sweetness and light -- or, given the musical tenor of their two shows, sweetness and heavy. Gary Graff, Billboard, "Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson Unite For Beatles Cover as 'Twins Of Evil 2' Tour Kicks Off In Detroit," 12 July 2018 The tenor of the arguments last week was unlike anything heard in Philadelphia courtrooms. Samantha Melamed, Philly.com, "Why are juvenile lifers from Philly getting radically different sentences than those in the rest of Pennsylvania?," 10 July 2018 Still, these concepts continue to shape the tenor and texture of life here. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "For July 4th, four architectural freedoms," 2 July 2018 Starting in the late 15th century, artists began expressing the emotional tenor of various modes through stories about the anticipation, passions and trials of lovers. Lee Lawrence, WSJ, "‘Epic Tales From Ancient India’ Review: Stories Told in All Their Splendor," 26 June 2018 But the true measure of whether the president has transformed his party is not the tenor or substance of the White House’s actions, but those of his party in Congress. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Has Not Transformed the Republican Party – Yet," 14 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of tenor

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Adjective

1522, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tenor

Noun

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

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Dictionary Entries near tenor

tenon

tenoner

tenon tooth

tenor

tenor clef

tenore

tenorist

Statistics for tenor

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tenor

The first known use of tenor was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for tenor

tenor

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tenor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

English Language Learners Definition of tenor (Entry 2 of 2)

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

tenor

noun
ten·or | \ˈte-nər \

Kids Definition of tenor

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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