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

At his first court appearance since being extradited to Alaska, Schilmiller answered U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Deborah Smith’s questions in barely audible tones. Madeline Mcgee, Anchorage Daily News, "Indiana man accused of masterminding Cynthia Hoffman killing pleads not guilty to child porn charges," 8 Aug. 2019 Beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, helps protect skin from sun damage, warms skin tone, and helps create a natural glow. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health.com, "8 Health Benefits of Peaches," 7 Aug. 2019 Wallace praises Warner for his quiet approach to setting the tone. al, "Kayaking group offers ‘Monday therapy’ on Dog River," 7 Aug. 2019 The interior is done up in soothing oceanic tones, and palm trees sway in the sea breeze outside of the restaurant’s tall glass windows. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "The world’s best waterfront restaurants promise more than a view," 23 July 2019 Through resonance, tone, and unexpected harmonic shifts Bowie and Dudgeon achieved a meta-pop song full of cultural and musical references. Mitch Goodwin, Quartzy, "How David Bowie created “Space Oddity,” the ultimate space anthem," 12 July 2019 Throughout the home walls and moldings are white, furnishings are primarily in neutral tones, there are apple green accents, and many of the accent pieces are made of items from nature. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Grandparents’ grand Cedarburg home is gutted but preserved after 120-plus years," 11 July 2019 In light of those circumstances, her fashion rebirth takes on more mature, personal tones. Marianna Cerini, CNN Style, "How Celine Dion became the queen of couture week," 4 July 2019 Stormzy also invited a black ballet dancer onstage, while highlighting that ballet shoes have only recently become available in skin tones other than white. Rob Picheta, CNN, "Stormzy tackles knife crime and racial inequality in history-making Glastonbury set," 29 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nothing has been toned down, nothing has been pulled back. Nigel Smith, PEOPLE.com, "Tony Winner Lena Hall on Going from Opera to Bat Out of Hell: 'You Can't Put Me in a Box'," 8 Aug. 2019 The trumpet mushrooms are dreamy and the tarragon sauce pleasant, but the overall dish is too toned down. Daliah Singer, The Know, "Restaurant review: The food satisfies, but Jovanina’s good looks are what really entice diners," 6 Aug. 2019 But the owners toned things down in 1985 to concentrate on food, and readers of the Express-News gave Good Time Charlie’s the Burger Madness crown in a tournament-style throwdown in 2012. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "52 Weeks of Burgers: Good Time Charlie’s," 2 Aug. 2019 Even the most outrageous of trends can be toned down and incorporated into one’s wardrobe with the right approach. Vogue, "Diane Kruger Has a City Take on the Cowboy Boot," 18 July 2019 So Lloyd toned it down in beautifully obvious fashion, the slow clap underscored by small, spontaneous group hugs and a few soft high-fives along the bench. Tara Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "Americans had nothing to apologize for in this World Cup victory," 16 June 2019 In turn, acne scars fill out and the skin looks more even-toned. Marci Robin, Good Housekeeping, "10 Tried-and-True Ways to Get Rid of Pimples Fast," 14 June 2019 Earlier — and much larger — springtime drills, which Washington and Seoul toned down, went off without the North’s typically fiery condemnation or accompanying weapons tests. BostonGlobe.com, "North Korea threatens to cancel US summit over drills," 16 May 2018 Gardening series Don’t fret if your thumb is more flesh-toned than green, there is gardening help. Bob Dohr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former Packers standout LeRoy Butler to appear at Friends of Autism event," 26 Feb. 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

11 Aug 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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