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

Such is the general tenor of hundreds of letters from people who wrote the port about their objections. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Your pier or mine? La Playa docks are dredging up big controversy in this upscale Shelter Island area," 24 Aug. 2019 At another point, Rogers’ colleagues expressed concern about Cardenas’ Hispanic heritage and the tenor of their anti-immigration message to donors. Derek Willis, ProPublica, "How Fundraisers Convinced Conservatives to Donate $10 Million — Then Kept Almost All of It.," 26 July 2019 Last month, AlphaSense, a startup that sells its service to hedge funds and financial analysts, introduced technology that sifts though documents to determine the tenor of their language. Fortune, "Investors Seek an Edge By Using Technology That Reads Between the Lines," 21 July 2019 Sheeran’s versatile with his raspy tenor, able to pull off both falsetto weepiness and singing-comedian patter. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "What Makes Ed Sheeran Ed Sheeran," 17 July 2019 Pritchard estimates – until owner Herb Simon changed the tenor of the talks by calling his Bucks counterpart with a personal plea. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Meet Malcolm Brogdon, President Point Guard," 8 July 2019 As Timothy, Jonas Hacker powers his lucid, focused tenor as every fraught emotional situation requires, yet registers the protagonist’s inner journey with tender lyricism and poignant vulnerability. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "A gay love affair in '50s D.C. plays out to touching effect in 'Fellow Travelers'," 18 Mar. 2018 All singers are welcome to join the Chorus for the Winter program, particularly tenor and bass voices! Sam Boyer, cleveland.com, "Newly licensed, he takes his parents for a ride; Sergio comes to Medina: Whit & Whimsey," 16 Aug. 2019 In a summer of superhero films, audiences are flocking to a documentary about the late Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Paula Bernstein, Fortune, "Documentaries Stand Out at the Box Office During a Summer of Sequels," 14 Aug. 2019

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

2 Sep 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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