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

Overall, Sellen said, the tone in 2019 is less formal, the use of first person more common. Zachary Lewis, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Orchestra program book editor Eric Sellen relishes role as musical liaison," 13 June 2019 More bad things happen; the father preys on the growing daughter, Angelica; the tone is precise melancholy, muted outrage. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "In Mark Haddon’s “The Porpoise,” Storytelling Is an Instrument of Violence and Solace," 13 June 2019 The tone was serious as stars such as Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and a handful of teammates reviewed the stakes one more time. Liz Clarke, Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. women’s soccer team is fighting two battles — for a World Cup title, and for equality," 11 June 2019 The tune became somewhat more serious in tone, at least for a few minutes. Michael J. West, Washington Post, "At the Hamilton, clarinetist Anat Cohen and her quartet explode with intensity," 8 June 2019 Shows that are dark in tone do not need to be physically dark, people! Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale," 6 June 2019 That reduction in physical activity can trigger weight gain, decrease in muscle tone, and a loss of balance that can increase the risk of falls. Colin Driscoll, sun-sentinel.com, "Correcting hearing loss can help keep older adults engaged in life," 5 June 2019 But in tone, style and rhythm, the movie bears little resemblance to those earlier pictures (which did not, of course, particularly resemble each other). Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Review: ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’ is a gorgeous, moving ode to a city in flux," 4 June 2019 This means adding copper and red undertones to your color to give you the richness in tone. Marci Robin, Allure, "“Chocolate Cake” Is the Delicious New Hair Color Trend for Brunettes," 25 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At the same time, while Utah has toned down how the university markets its premier athletic program, sports photography in general has gotten much more adventurous. Dvorameyers, Longreads, "The Gymnast’s Position," 5 June 2019 The most potent relief, however, might come in the form of LED laser therapy, which tones down inflammation and promotes wound healing with pulsated doses of red light. Kari Molvar, Vogue, "The Best Sunburn Remedies, From Soothing Balms to LED Treatments," 23 May 2019 Jade rollers are said to do everything from sculpting, toning, and firming skin to boosting circulation, enhancing glow, reducing puffiness, minimizing fine lines, improving elasticity, detoxifying, and helping skincare products penetrate better. April Franzino, Good Housekeeping, "Do Jade Rollers Actually Work? Here's the Truth," 20 May 2019 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

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

16 Jun 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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