\ ˈtün, ˈtyün\

Definition of tune

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a pleasing succession of musical tones : melody
b : a dominant theme
2 : correct musical pitch or consonance used chiefly in the phrases in tune and out of tune
3a : agreement, harmony in tune with the times
b : general attitude : approach changed his tune when the going got rough
c archaic : a frame of mind : mood
4 : amount, extent custom-made to the tune of $40 to $50 apieceAmer. Fabrics
5a : manner of utterance : intonation specifically : phonetic modulation
b archaic : quality of sound : tone


tuned; tuning

Definition of tune (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to adjust in musical pitch or cause to be in tune tuned her guitar
2a : to bring into harmony : attune
b : to adjust for precise functioning often used with up tune up an engine
c : to make more precise, intense, or effective
3 : to adjust with respect to resonance at a particular frequency: such as
a : to adjust (a radio or television receiver) to respond to waves of a particular frequency often used with in
b : to establish radio contact with tune in a directional beacon
4 : to adjust the frequency of the output of (a device) to a chosen frequency or range of frequencies also : to alter the frequency of (radiation)

intransitive verb

1 : to become attuned
2 : to adjust a radio or television receiver to respond to waves of a particular frequency

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Synonyms for tune

Synonyms: Noun

air, lay, melody, song, strain, warble

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Examples of tune in a Sentence


hummed a little tune while I sorted the laundry your negative assessment of the restaurant seems to be in tune with the opinions of the critics


The piano needs to be tuned. We tuned our bikes before the road trip. The mechanic tuned the engine. The copilot tuned the radio to hear the message.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The contrast of the vicious confrontation with the patriotic tune emphasizes a theme of the coming season: perhaps the American dream isn't beautiful for everyone, after all. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Outlander Actor Ed Speleers Breaks Down Tonight's Shocking Final Scene," 4 Nov. 2018 Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks offer menus that are more in tune with casual restaurant trends. Vox, "Hooters is closing restaurants. Is its offensive uniform to blame?," 4 Oct. 2018 Hype yourself and play some sultry tunes to set the tone, or even your favorite artist to get you relaxed…bust a few moves even! Iman Hariri-kia, Teen Vogue, "Teens' Biggest Sex Questions Answered By Their Peers," 13 Nov. 2018 The songs tap into the much darker side of falling in love – a far cry from many of today's catchy pop tunes. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Why BTS Is a Bigger Deal Than Many 'America's Got Talent' Fans Realize," 13 Sep. 2018 The president was later escorted by cavalry to the presidential complex, where he was greeted by a military band playing Ottoman war tunes. David Gauthier-villars, WSJ, "Turkish Leader Takes Oath With New Powers and High Ambitions," 9 July 2018 Rodney Barbour, former Cincinnati Reds organist plays patriotic and baseball themed tunes on a Verdin Organ. Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, "Free and fun things to do this weekend in Cincinnati," 28 June 2018 For example, Alex has until recently used the music app Spotify to play tunes during his runs and workouts. Vivek Wadhwa And Alex Salkever, WIRED, "How Can We Make Technology Healthier for Humans?," 26 June 2018 The symphony takes the stage at 3 p.m. to play some of classical music’s more rousing tunes. Nathan J. Fish, azcentral, "Flagstaff cancels July Fourth fireworks show, citing fire danger," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Democrats acknowledge that Trump has a head start in fine-tuning the campaign’s data and online fundraising capabilities. Michelle Ye Hee Lee, The Seattle Times, "Trump reelection campaign has $100 million head start over Democrats," 16 Oct. 2018 For the sake of school spirit, Texas principals and teachers donned shades, swayed to a beat and fine-tuned their acting skills with videos that usher a new school year. Diane Smith, star-telegram, "Move over police, these teachers have some moves of their own and they can sing," 11 July 2018 Credit the current owners who took a great house, then fine-tuned and upgraded it for years. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "17 years of tweaks turns Pleasant Ridge home into a vintage showplace," 7 July 2018 Yet all agree on his remarkably well-tuned political antennae. The Economist, "Europe is moving towards the tough immigration policies of Sebastian Kurz," 5 July 2018 McLaren says fine-tuning the massive rear wing’s movements was the hardest part of development. Basem Wasef, WIRED, "McLaren's $958,966 Senna Hypercar Ain't Pretty, but It Can Whip a Track," 30 June 2018 After three years of fine-tuning the vehicle, which also included adding a smoke machine to the propulsion engine replicas in the rear, Mr. Elbroody was eager to start getting some return on his investment. Kaya Laterman, New York Times, "Monetizing the Space Shuttle Cafe," 28 June 2018 To do this, the research team first fine-tuned how to determine the stage of a pregnancy. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "This Blood Test Could Predict When Babies Will Arrive Early," 7 June 2018 Fine-tuning EcoCast to accurately forecast where populations of various marine species are is a work in progress. Larisa Bennett, Smithsonian, "Smart Software Helps Fishermen Catch the Fish They Want, Not Endangered Species," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tune.' 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 tune


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5b


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for tune


Middle English, from Anglo-French tun, tuen tone

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Dictionary Entries near tune


tundra swan

tundra vole





Statistics for tune

Last Updated

23 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tune

The first known use of tune was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for tune



English Language Learners Definition of tune

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a series of musical notes that produce a pleasing sound when played or sung



English Language Learners Definition of tune (Entry 2 of 2)

: to adjust (a musical instrument) so that it makes the correct sound when played

: to make small changes to (something) in order to make it work better

: to adjust (a radio or television) so that it receives a broadcast clearly


\ ˈtün, ˈtyün\

Kids Definition of tune

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a series of pleasing musical tones : melody
2 : correct musical pitch or key We were singing out of tune.
3 : agreement sense 1, harmony Your feelings are in tune with mine.
4 : general attitude They changed their tune when they knew all the facts.

Other Words from tune

tuneful \ -​fəl \ adjective


tuned; tuning

Kids Definition of tune (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to adjust a radio or television so that it receives clearly
2 : to adjust in musical pitch I tuned my guitar.
3 : to come or bring into harmony
4 : to put (as an engine) in good working order
Hint: This sense is often used with up.
tune out
: to ignore what is happening or being said

Other Words from tune

tuner noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on tune

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tune

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tune

Spanish Central: Translation of tune

Nglish: Translation of tune for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tune for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tune

What made you want to look up tune? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to settle judicially or to act as judge

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