Definitions

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

  • noun An ulterior, usually implicit meaning or quality; an implication or a hint.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In music, a harmonic. See harmonic, n., 1.

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

  • noun (Mus.) One of the harmonics faintly heard with and at a higher frequency than a fundamental tone as it dies away, produced by some aliquot portion of the vibrating sting or column of air which yields the fundamental tone; one of the natural harmonic scale of tones, as the octave, twelfth, fifteenth, etc.; an aliquot or “partial” tone; a harmonic. See harmonic, and tone.

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

  • noun physics, music A tone whose frequency is an integer multiple of another; a harmonic
  • noun An implicit meaning, as opposed to a hidden meaning or undertone.

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

  • noun (usually plural) an ulterior implicit meaning or quality
  • noun a harmonic with a frequency that is a multiple of the fundamental frequency

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

over + tone, from German Oberton.

Examples

  • As such it gradually lost its pejorative overtone, so that both to Jews themselves and to sympathetic gentiles, it sometimes seemed preferable to 'Jew' as a racial term.

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  • As such it gradually lost its pejorative overtone, so that both to Jews themselves and to sympathetic gentiles, it sometimes seemed preferable to 'Jew' as a racial term.

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  • The movie's unmistakable, though largely tacit theme is homosexuality in the full, unliberated postwar sense of the word - Matthew Parris said that its clenched pejorative overtone is traditionally conveyed with the long vowels fastidiously drawn out: hoa-moa-sexuality.

    Culture | guardian.co.uk

  • The movie's unmistakable, though largely tacit theme is homosexuality in the full, unliberated postwar sense of the word - Matthew Parris said that its clenched pejorative overtone is traditionally conveyed with the long vowels fastidiously drawn out: hoa-moa-sexuality.

    Blogposts | guardian.co.uk

  • Edit we can linguistically deconstruct “evolve” into “e” (out) and “volve” (roll or turn with a kind of overtone of fold).

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  • This word "overtone" is used unscientifically by many.

    Expressive Voice Culture, Including the Emerson System

  • "We certainly are" came a voice from the shortest of the cabal members, with a kind of overtone of 'there's strength in numbers' - or was it 'the more the merrier'?

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  • Harmonics • An 'overtone' is a partial (a \ "partial wave\" or \ "constituent frequency\") that can be either a harmonic or an inharmonic.

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  • Though many on the ground in the struggle against the Shah were leftists and other secular democratic forces -- some of whom organized important strikes, demonstrations, and other actions independently from the religious hierarchy -- the religious overtone of the demonstrations was apparent in the slogans, communiqués, banners, graffiti, and other means throughout the 13-month struggle that led to the Shah's overthrow in February 1979.

    Stephen Zunes: Why Egypt Will Not Turn Into Another Iran

  • Though many on the ground in the struggle against the Shah were leftists and other secular democratic forces -- some of whom organized important strikes, demonstrations, and other actions independently from the religious hierarchy -- the religious overtone of the demonstrations was apparent in the slogans, communiqués, banners, graffiti, and other means throughout the 13-month struggle that led to the Shah's overthrow in February 1979.

    Stephen Zunes: Why Egypt Will Not Turn Into Another Iran

Comments

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  • When you hear a saxophone playing a tone with a fundamental frequency of 220 Hz, you are actually hearing many tones, not just one. The other tones you hear are integer multiples of the fundamental: 440, 660, . . . . These different tones—the overtones—have different intensities, and so we hear them as having different loudnesses for these tones is distinctive of the saxophone, and they are what give rise to its unique tonal color, its unique sound—its timbre. . . . Indeed, for each instrument, there exists a unique pattern of overtones. . . . Virtually all of the tonal variation we hear—the quality that gives a trumpet its trumpetiness and that gives a piano its pianoness—comes from the unique way in which the loudnesses of the overtones are distributed.
    Daniel J. Levitin, This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession (New York: Penguin Random House, 2007), p. 46

    June 19, 2017