tone

noun
\ˈtōn \

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

b : whole step

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 : muscular tonus

b : 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

1a : to impart tone to : strengthen medicine to tone up the system

b : to soften or reduce in intensity, color, appearance, or sound : mellow often used with down

c : to change the normal silver image of (something, such as a photographic print) into a colored image

2 : to give a particular intonation or inflection to

3 : intone

intransitive verb

1 : to assume a pleasing color quality or tint

2 : to blend or harmonize in color

Tone

biographical name
\ˈtōn \

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

Wearing a sleeveless multicolored dress by British fashion designer Victoria Beckham and spiky flesh-tone stilettos, Trump appeared to take the game seriously and followed a boy’s advice on how to hold the ball. Sylvia Hui, BostonGlobe.com, "Melania Trump dutifully tries her hand at lawn bowling," 13 July 2018 While Velayati maintained a combative tone, his careful response reflected the intense diplomatic maneuvering ahead of the Helsinki summit. Vladimir Isachenkov, Fox News, "Iran has no intention to leave Syria, top official says," 13 July 2018 Wearing a sleeveless multicolored dress by British fashion designer Victoria Beckham and spiky flesh-tone stilettos, Mrs. Trump appeared to take the game seriously and followed a boy’s advice on how to hold the ball. Washington Post, "Melania Trump dutifully tries her hand at lawn bowls," 13 July 2018 Since her wedding to Prince Harry, Meghan has committed to a wardrobe of bateau necklines, neutral color tones, and brands predominantly helmed by female designers. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Wore The Little Black Dress Version Of Her Wedding Gown," 10 July 2018 The two-tone design looks good, the ripstop nylon is lightweight but durable, and the thin layer of Polartec Alpha insulation works wonders on cool summer evenings. Ben Fox, Outside Online, "Four Pieces We Love from Stio's Summer Collection," 10 July 2018 The second phase, starring Kim, Kris, and North, has the same feminine, familial tone of the first. Zoe Harris, Marie Claire, "Kim Kardashian, North, and Kris Jenner Star in Fendi's New Campaign," 9 July 2018 Hyundai i20 five-door will be available with a Phantom Black two-tone roof, offering customers more compelling options to personalise their car. Stacy Argo, Houston Chronicle, "Sleek, modern shower doors provide streamlined look," 8 July 2018 Riders quickly noticed improved muscle tone, increased strength, better sleep, and brighter moods. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Wheel, the Woman, and the Human Body," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Tonercize Tonercize is a class that works on toning the whole body. 10:30 a.m. Sartory Senior Center, 10150 NW 29th St., Coral Springs. Mary Lou Cruz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Coral Springs area events July 18-28," 13 July 2018 Much larger springtime drills took place last month without the North’s typically fiery condemnation or accompanying weapons tests, though Washington and Seoul toned down those exercises. Washington Post, "Seoul pushes for successful Trump-Kim talks as North warns," 17 May 2018 The trick to pulling it all together is toning down your furniture, textiles and accents for the busier patterns and art. Clare Miers, star-telegram, "Wallpaper is back! Here, local design experts talk the trends and share their picks | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 15 Mar. 2018 For the past three days, after the North Korean athletes arrived with the heavy expectations that their participation here in these Winter Games would tone down tension on the Korean Peninsula, this cat-and-mouse game has played out. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "Before the Games, a Competition to Chase North Koreans," 3 Feb. 2018 And yet, Trump ramps up his attacks rather than toning them down. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Donald Trump turned a rumor into a full-blown government conspiracy in just 5 days," 23 May 2018 Intrepid and smoky toned and nearly always convincing, Mr. Jones held the first trumpet chair in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for many years. New York Times, "12 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 17 May 2018 This is tie-dye for the 21st century, toned down and rendered at a less eye-assaulting scale. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Over Gingham Shirts? This Summer, Try Tie-Dye. Seriously.," 15 May 2018 But my favorite part was the unexpected earthiness of oregano that toned down the acid and lingered on the palate after each bite (shout-out to Paloma for identifying this unusual placement of a commonplace spice). Anchorage Daily News, "Revamped Crush offers intriguing dining choices in downtown Anchorage," 21 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

1660, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

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

3 Nov 2018

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 \

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 \

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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