Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The tonic of a musical key.
  • noun A prime underlying element or theme.
  • transitive verb To give or set the keynote of.
  • transitive verb Informal To give a keynote address at.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In music, the tone on which a key (tonality) is founded; a tonic. See key, 7 .
  • noun A central principle or idea; the pivotal point in a system, a composition, or a course of action; a controlling thought.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Mus.) The tonic or first tone of the scale in which a piece or passage is written; the fundamental tone of the chord, to which all the modulations of the piece are referred; -- called also key tone.
  • noun The fundamental fact or idea; that which gives the key.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun music The note on which a musical key is based.
  • noun The main theme of a speech, a written work, or a conference.
  • noun A speech that sets the main theme of a conference or other gathering; a keynote speech or keynote address.
  • verb transitive To deliver a speech that sets the main theme of a conference or other gathering.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb give the keynote address to (an audience)
  • noun (music) the first note of a diatonic scale
  • noun a fundamental or central idea
  • verb set the keynote of
  • noun the principal theme in a speech or literary work

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

key +‎ note

Examples

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