tone

noun
\ ˈtōn How to pronounce tone (audio) \

Definition of tone

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : vocal or musical sound of a specific quality spoke in low tones masculine tones especially : musical sound with respect to timbre and manner of expression
2a : a sound of definite pitch and vibration
3 : accent or inflection expressive of a mood or emotion
4 : style or manner of expression in speaking or writing seemed wise to adopt a conciliatory tone
5 : a particular pitch or change of pitch constituting an element in the intonation of a phrase or sentence high tone low tone mid tone low-rising tone falling tone
6 : the pitch of a word often used to express differences of meaning
7a(1) : color quality or value
(2) : a tint or shade of color
b : the color that appreciably modifies a hue or white or black gray walls of greenish tone
8 : the effect in painting of light and shade together with color
9a : normal tension or responsiveness to stimuli specifically : the state of partial contraction of skeletal muscle at rest : muscular tonus
b : strength, firmness, or tautness of a part of the body (such as the muscles or skin) exercising to improve muscle tone the shape and tone of the arms
c : the state of a living body or of any of its organs or parts in which the functions are healthy and performed with due vigor
10a : general character, quality, or trend a city's upbeat tone
b : frame of mind : mood
c : healthy elasticity : resiliency

tone

verb
toned; toning

Definition of tone (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to soften or reduce in intensity, color, appearance, or sound : mellow often used with down tone down the bright colorsThe candidate toned down his harsh rhetoric.
2 : to impart tone to : strengthen medicine to tone up the system especially : to increase the firmness, strength, or tautness of (a part of the body) She lifted weights to tone her arms.
3 : to change the normal silver image of (something, such as a photographic print) into a colored image
4 : to give a particular intonation or inflection to
5 : intone

intransitive verb

1 : to assume a pleasing color quality or tint
2 : to blend or harmonize in color

Tone

biographical name
\ ˈtōn How to pronounce Tone (audio) \

Definition of Tone (Entry 3 of 3)

(Theobald) Wolfe 1763–1798 Irish revolutionary

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Examples of tone in a Sentence

Noun

He replied in a friendly tone. They spoke in hushed tones. Don't use that rude tone of voice with me. the low tones of an organ The speech had religious tones to it. The author's tone shows her attitude toward the subject. The professor's condescending tone irritated some students. a bright, dark, or light tone of blue the soft tones of the painting
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There's also a button on the console for the exhaust tone. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "The 2020 BMW M8 Will Have Adjustable Brake-Pedal Feel," 9 May 2019 Women with an array of hair types, skin tones, body sizes, and racial backgrounds have always been the ones that energize me. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "20 Inspiring Beauty Instagram Accounts Led by Women of Color," 29 Apr. 2019 While more and more brands are routinely adding new extended shades to their already existing foundation collections, Uoma has created entirely unique formulations for different of skin tones. Tanisha Pina, Glamour, "Uoma Beauty Is Showing How to Launch a Brand in 2019," 26 Apr. 2019 And giving up my tanning bed habit means that my tan eventually faded into a paleness that more resembles my husband’s skin tone. Anne Roderique-jones, SELF, "My Husband and I Are Becoming the Same Person," 19 Mar. 2019 That’s perhaps most clearly on display in the dining room, where a whimsical backdrop of swirling clouds—courtesy of an iconic Fornasetti wallpaper—sets the tone for family dinners and discussions about the day’s events. Jennifer Fernandez, House Beautiful, "This Chic House Is Designed to Be a Playground—For Kids and Adults," 11 Mar. 2019 Darker skin tones are harder to treat, as are certain areas of the body, such as the wrist and forearm, and some colors are more difficult to remove than others. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "Tattoo Industry Wins Over Millennials," 31 Aug. 2018 So began my search for a foundation that would match my skin tone and leave me with the healthy looking complexion of my dreams. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "365 Days of Foundation: How One Vogue Writer Finally Found a Perfect Match," 18 Apr. 2019 But as the mayor of Indiana’s fourth largest city, his tone toward the state’s Republican former governor was more muted. Brian Slodysko, The Seattle Times, "Buttigieg, once cordial to Pence, now critical amid campaign," 13 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Emsculpt is known for its impressive muscle toning and fat burning properties—and the non-invasive treatment requires zero downtime afterwards. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Everything You Need to Know About Emsulpt," 21 Feb. 2019 Many Americans joined boxing gyms to tone their arms and abs in the hopes of getting a body like Sylvester Stallone. USA TODAY, "The biggest exercise fad the year you were born," 12 July 2018 Epic toned down the health regeneration aspect of the item earlier in the week in response to feedback from how the item was being used in the Winter Royale competitive tournament circuit. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Epic says it ‘messed up’ and removes overpowered Infinity Blade from Fortnite," 14 Dec. 2018 Some of the decorator's other home design secrets included investing in a great sofa, grab your outdoor furniture from Restoration Hardware, and to tone it down on the knick-knacks around your home. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "The Huge Mansions in Big Little Lies Are Actually Filled With Discount Pieces," 14 Mar. 2019 Once known for blatant misogyny, both sites embarked on an effort to tone it down a few years ago, with LADbible earning profiles by BBC News and BuzzFeed in the process. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook removes misinformation, but only on a technicality," 12 Oct. 2018 To tone it down slightly while keeping the color coordination, Simkin blended the center shade from the Super Stunner palette in It's Lit across the blue. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "Issa Rae's Emmys Glow Was All Thanks to This $10 Highlighter," 17 Sep. 2018 The star has also been posting up a storm on Instagram of sultry selfies, but Jenner toned it down for tonight's award show. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Kylie Jenner Arrived to the VMAs in a Classic White Blazer Dress," 21 Aug. 2018 Still, there was a sense that the network was wary of Barr's divisive views and had asked her to tone it down. Meg James, latimes.com, "'Roseanne' cancellation a huge blow to ABC, but network praised for swift action," 30 May 2018

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1674, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 5

History and Etymology for tone

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French tun, ton, from Latin tonus tension, tone, from Greek tonos, literally, act of stretching; akin to Greek teinein to stretch — more at thin

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Learn More about tone

Dictionary Entries near tone

tonca bean

tondino

tondo

tone

Tone

tone accent

tonearm

Statistics for tone

Last Updated

19 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tone

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

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More Definitions for tone

tone

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tone

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the quality of a person's voice
: the quality of a sound produced by a musical instrument or singing voice
: a quality, feeling, or attitude expressed by the words that someone uses in speaking or writing

tone

verb

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

: to give strength and firmness to (something, such as muscles or skin)

tone

noun
\ ˈtōn How to pronounce tone (audio) \

Kids Definition of tone

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an individual way of speaking or writing especially when used to express an emotion He replied in a friendly tone.
2 : common character or quality There was a polite tone to the discussions.
3 : quality of spoken or musical sound
4 : a sound on one pitch
5 : a shade of color The room is decorated in soft tones.
6 : a color that changes another It's gray with a blue tone.
7 : a healthy state of the body or any of its parts He has good muscle tone.

tone

verb
toned; toning

Kids Definition of tone (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give a healthy state to : strengthen She exercised to tone up her muscles.
tone down
: to soften or blend in color, appearance, or sound Can you tone down the music?

tone

noun
\ ˈtōn How to pronounce tone (audio) \

Medical Definition of tone

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sound of definite pitch and vibration
2a : the state of a living body or of any of its organs or parts in which the functions are healthy and performed with due vigor
b : normal tension or responsiveness to stimuli specifically : tonus sense 2
toned; toning

Medical Definition of tone (Entry 2 of 2)

: to impart tone to tone the muscles

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More from Merriam-Webster on tone

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tone

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tone

Spanish Central: Translation of tone

Nglish: Translation of tone for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tone for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tone

Comments on tone

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