ton·​al | \ˈtō-nᵊl \

Definition of tonal 

1 : of or relating to tone, tonality, or tonicity

2 : having tonality

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Other Words from tonal

tonally \ ˈtō-​nᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Examples of tonal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

So that’s why the whole left side is neutral—with eight tonal colors in total—and then the six shades on the right are for pops of color. Blake Newby, Glamour, "Manny MUA Talks Lunar Beauty, His Life's a Drag Palette, and More," 26 May 2018 The duo’s coordination in the Fantasie was practically telepathic, their tonal colors well matched. Christian Hertzog,, "Inon Barnatan and Garrick Ohlsson deliver masterful performances of late Schubert music," 25 Mar. 2018 His tonal, accessible, sometimes ravishing music combines the pulsing energy of minimalism with the sensuous melismas of ancient troubadour music and archaic dance forms. John Von Rhein,, "A gay love affair in '50s D.C. plays out to touching effect in 'Fellow Travelers'," 18 Mar. 2018 Yet Cole’s plush-but-gentle vocals stand apart from Porter’s immense-and-radiant baritone, their art linked more by the optimism of their message than the tonal quality of their instruments. Howard Reich,, "Gregory Porter sounds sumptuous with CSO," 12 June 2018 To be sure, even in his best work, Ellison was a limited writer with a narrow emotional and tonal range. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Harlan Ellison’s Death Raises a #MeToo Quandary," 2 July 2018 The new 50/50 colorway visually splits the shoe down the middle: one half is rendered in black or grey, cream, and yellow, while the other side is an entirely different palette altogether, featuring red, turquoise, and beige, or tonal grays. Liz Raiss, GQ, "The Balenciaga Triple S Just Got Even Crazier," 20 June 2018 Those kinds of tonal and character shifts were fascinating to watch. Glenn Whipp,, "Kyle MacLachlan loves Special Agent Dale Cooper — just don't ask him to pick his favorite version in 'Twin Peaks'," 19 June 2018 And some writers focus not only on the meaning of words but their sound and tonal qualities to drive an internal rhythm in their readers. John Kass,, "Austin bombing victim had that Rembrandt light," 23 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tonal.' 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 tonal

1776, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for tonal

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for tonal

The first known use of tonal was in 1776

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English Language Learners Definition of tonal

: of or relating to musical or color tones

music : having or based in a particular key

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by force of circumstances

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