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

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 Indeed, Martin, who died in 1974, uses hints of Schoenberg's 12-tone technique and Bartók-like dissonance within his flowing tonal scheme to striking effect. Rick Schultz,, "'The Love Potion': Tristan and Isolde, the Long Beach Opera way," 16 May 2018 The black-and-white collection will feature eight pieces in a more modern, tonal color scheme, plus ponchos and camp hats. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Ralph Lauren Reimagines ’90s Snowboard Gear. Twice.," 16 Jan. 2018 This is daring dramaturgy, requiring the utmost in tonal control to keep it from tipping into righteous bathos. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: Waiting for Po-Po in a Searing ‘Pass Over’," 18 June 2018 The first images that popped up were of Jenner and Kardashian West twinning in tan leggings with tonal tops. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West and Kylie Jenner Continue to Roll Out Yeezy Season 7 for the Paparazzi," 14 June 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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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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What made you want to look up tonal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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