tenor

noun
ten·​or | \ ˈte-nər How to pronounce tenor (audio) \

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

Much like one of his primary mentors, tenor sax master George Coleman, the 50-year-old New Yorker combines extraordinary fluency at every tempo with a clear, rounded tone and an expansive harmonic palette. Andrew Gilbert, The Mercury News, "Sax man Eric Alexander brings his gorgeous tones to SF Bay Area shows," 18 June 2019 The second act begins with tenor Thomas Segen seated on his gold toilet, calling the press, comic relief but also a caricature of the president that doesn’t exploit his influence back then on the public. San Diego Union-Tribune, "UCSD professor Anthony Davis’ opera ‘The Central Park Five’ goes where Netflix doesn’t dare," 17 June 2019 His other directorial turns included the operatic La Traviata (1982) and Otello (1986), both starring the Spanish tenor Placido Domingo. Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter, "Franco Zeffirelli, Oscar-Nominated Director for 'Romeo and Juliet,' Dies at 96," 15 June 2019 The first concert in 1990 brought the tenor together with his friends and rivals, Placido Domingo, and Jose Carreras. Reagan Alexander, PEOPLE.com, "Five Things You Never Knew About Luciano Pavarotti, the Larger Than Life Opera Star," 13 June 2019 La Bohème in its venerable Franco Zeffirelli staging includes soprano Kristine Opolais and tenor Vittorio Grigolo as Mimì and Rodolfo with Stefano Ranzani conducting in this retransmission to local movie theaters of a 2014 performance. Peter Dobrin, https://www.inquirer.com, "Classical summer: Bradley Cooper, Harry Potter, piano stars, Yannick debuts at a spiffed-up Mann Center," 5 June 2019 That is only a quarter of that on China Grand Automotive Services Group Co.’s note which has the same tenor and rating. Bloomberg.com, "A Near Default in China Gives Bond Hedging Sellers Jitters," 3 June 2019 The difference between China’s 10-year government bonds and the U.S. Treasury note of the same tenor has shrunk to half a percentage point from 1.7 points late last year. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "The Brewing Fight Over the Yuan," 15 Oct. 2018 Jennifer Zetlan, soprano; Nicholas Phan, tenor; Hugh Russell, baritone; Kansas City Symphony Chorus directed by Charles Bruffy; Allegro Choirs of Kansas City directed by Christy Eisner. Patrick Neas, kansascity, "KC Symphony’s 2018-19 season has an American flourish," 13 Jan. 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 tenor, tenoure, tenure "main point of a document, intent of a legal agreement, continued presence or sustained course, part carrying the cantus firmus melody in contrapuntal music," borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French tenur, tenure "import of a document," borrowed from Medieval Latin tenōr-, tenor "sustained course, continuity, condition, drift of a law or document, tone of the voice, cantus firmus melody in contrapuntal music," going back to Latin, "sustained course, continuity, tone of the voice," from tenēre "to hold, possess" + -ōr-, -or, going back to *-ōs-, deverbal noun suffix of state — more at tenant entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near tenor

tenon

tenoner

tenon tooth

tenor

tenor clef

tenore

tenorist

Statistics for tenor

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

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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 How to pronounce tenor (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on tenor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tenor

Spanish Central: Translation of tenor

Nglish: Translation of tenor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tenor for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tenor

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