tone language


: a language (such as Chinese or Zulu) in which variations in tone distinguish words or phrases of different meaning that otherwise would sound alike

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1909, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tone language was circa 1909

Dictionary Entries Near tone language

Cite this Entry

“Tone language.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

tone language

: a language (as Chinese) in which changes in tone of words that otherwise sound alike indicate different meanings

More from Merriam-Webster on tone language

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