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

Makeup artist Kelsey Deenihan gave the actor a glassy red-orange lip that could be seen for miles, and then used rust tones on her eyes to accompany the look. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Maisie Williams Wore a Full Face of Urban Decay’s Game of Thrones Makeup Collection to the Season 8 Premiere," 4 Apr. 2019 Philo’s mega-influential tone is still on the reverb. Jessica Iredale, Town & Country, "When Did "Wearable" Become a Dirty Word in Fashion?," 27 Mar. 2019 There are more blue tones in the stair runner from Melrose Carpets and a gorgeous custom table by Ken Peterson grounds the space. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "Reath Design Crafts a Bright, Elegant Home for a Young Family," 22 Mar. 2019 There are some good explanations for that shift in tone and language, most notably that the rise of the Warriors didn’t stand in the way of the NBA and the NBPA rom successfully negotiating a CBA extension in 2017. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Two Years After Durant’s Decision, Adam Silver Changes Tune on Superteam Warriors," 11 July 2018 The concise and very casual nature of the conversation is often used in contrast to the tone of the scene or what is being said. Michael Moore, The Verge, "The Haunted Island: a Frog Detective Game is a farcical tale of ghosts, vacations to Indonesia, and overzealous dental care," 23 Dec. 2018 So Judge Kavanaugh's tone today catching Democrats off-guard, perhaps, and give the Republicans and the red state Democrats reason to vote yes. Fox News, "Kavanaugh's high school friend reacts to fiery testimony," 28 Sep. 2018 But seizing the opportunity will require him to offer not just a different tone compared to his 2020 rivals, but a different agenda. James Freeman, WSJ, "Joe Biden’s Opportunity," 27 Feb. 2019 When Kylie debunked rumors in a gloriously monotonous tone. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "9 Things the Kardashian-Jenners Did on Their Apps That Will Stand the Test of Time," 20 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

One: use matte foundation, which will help tone down the shine caused by the harsh lighting. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "How to Take a Better Passport Photo—Then Survive Losing It in Shanghai," 1 Apr. 2019 However, there's no magic solution or tip that will make the clutter or disorganization go away for good—sound familiar to keeping those muscles toned or keeping off that spare tire? Taysha Murtaugh, Woman's Day, "7 Things Professional Organizers Wish You Knew," 14 Feb. 2017 And as Black Friday has expanded beyond a single day, the rise of online shopping may have helped tone down some of the day’s wilder elements. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Black Friday is longer, and tamer, than ever," 20 Nov. 2018 Despite attempts to tone down differences, Trump continues to leave doubts about the depth of his commitment to the alliance. Calvin Woodward And Hope Yen, chicagotribune.com, "Trump is in Europe and the truth is not with him: A fact check," 14 July 2018 His idea was to tone down the look of men’s tennis style, substituting the outward-facing labels and loud colors of ubiquitous branded merchandise for something softer. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "This New Line of Logo-less Tennis Gear is For Guys Who Want to Look Good on and Off the Court," 12 July 2018 Otherwise, more graphically demanding games will have to be toned down in areas such as texture fidelity for better playability. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Is the GPU pricing crisis ending? Amazon's selling a Gigabyte Radeon RX 580 for $210," 13 July 2018 Under pressure from business groups, the lawmakers toned the bill down and got rid of references to specific restrictions. Washington Post, "Russia’s ex-US envoy: Trump wants better ties with Russia," 25 May 2018 Most freckles tend to be cool-toned, which is something to keep in mind when choosing a lip color. Talia Abbas, SELF, "How to Apply Makeup When You Have Freckles, According to Makeup Artists," 3 Dec. 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

7 Apr 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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