Definitions

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

  • noun A sound of distinct pitch, quality, and duration; a note.
  • noun The interval of a major second in the diatonic scale; a whole step.
  • noun A recitational melody in a Gregorian chant.
  • noun The quality or character of sound.
  • noun The characteristic quality or timbre of a particular instrument or voice.
  • noun The pitch of a word used to determine its meaning or to distinguish differences in meaning.
  • noun The particular or relative pitch of a word, phrase, or sentence.
  • noun Manner of expression in speech or writing.
  • noun A general quality, effect, or atmosphere.
  • noun A color or shade of color.
  • noun Quality of color.
  • noun The general effect in painting of light, color, and shade.
  • noun The normal state of elastic tension or partial contraction in resting muscles.
  • noun Normal firmness of a tissue or an organ.
  • intransitive verb To give a particular tone or inflection to.
  • intransitive verb To soften or change the color of (a painting or photographic negative, for example).
  • intransitive verb To sound monotonously; intone.
  • intransitive verb To make firmer or stronger. Often used with up.
  • intransitive verb To assume a particular color quality.
  • intransitive verb To harmonize in color.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In printing, to grade or soften with a graver, or roulette, or by etching certain parts (especially the edges) of (an illustration, usually an electrotype), as an aid in reducing the quantity of ink caused by pressure in printing.
  • noun In philology, a distinctive quality or pitch forming in some languages a fixed feature of the pronunciation of words, as in Chinese, Swedish, etc.
  • noun In telephonic testing, the humming noise produced by the introduction of an alternating or rapidly alternating current into the line
  • One: originally and usually preceded by the, and usually followed by the tother. See etymology. Compare tother.
  • To tune. See tune.
  • To utter in an affected or drawling tone.
  • To give tone or quality to, in respect either to sound or to color or tint.
  • In photography, to alter the color, as of a picture in finishing it, to give it greater brilliancy or a more agreeable tint.
  • To give a more subdued tone to; reduce or moderate the characteristic opinions or expressions of; render less confident, pronounced, or decided; soften.
  • To take on a particular tone; specifically, to assume color or tint.
  • To harmonize in tone, color, or tint.
  • noun Any sound considered with reference to its acuteness or gravity (pitch), openness, dullness, purity, sweetness, harshness, or the like (quality or timbre), or loudness or softness (strength or volume).
  • noun Specifically In musical acoustics, a sound having definiteness and continuity enough so that its pitch, force, and quality may be readily estimated by the ear, and so that it may be employed in musical relations; musical sound: opposed to noise. See sound.
  • noun Modulation, inflection, or accent of the voice, as adapted to express sentiment, emotion, or passion.
  • noun An affected or artificial style of intonation in speaking or reading; a sing-song or measured rhythmical manner of speaking.
  • noun In music, one of the larger intervals of a diatonic series or scale; a whole step or “whole tone” as distinguished from a half-step or semitone.
  • noun In Gregorian music, a melody or tune traditionally associated with a particular text; an ancient psalm-tune. See chant .
  • noun In medicine, the state of tension or firmness proper to the tissues of the body; the state in which all the parts and organs have due tension or are well strung; the strength and activity of the organs on which healthy functions depend; hence, that state of the body in which all the animal functions are performed with healthy vigor. See tonicity.
  • noun State or temper of mind; mood.
  • noun Tenor; spirit; strain; quality; specifically, the general or prevailing character or style, as of morals, manners, or sentiments, especially a marked degree of such style.
  • noun In painting, the prevailing effect of color, or the general effect produced by the management of light and shade in a picture: as, dark, light, or silvery tone.
  • noun A quality of color; a tint; a shade.
  • noun In chromatics, see the first quotation.
  • noun In photography, the color of a finished positive picture, in many processes due to a chemical operation supplementary to those of producing and fixing the picture: as, a print of a brown, gray, or black tone; also, sometimes, the color of the film of a negative, etc.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English ton, from Old French, from Latin tonus, from Greek tonos, string, a stretching; see ten- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English tone, ton, toon, from the incorrect division of thet one ("the/that one"). Compare Scots tane in the tane; see also tother.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French ton, from Latin tonus ("sound, tone"), from Ancient Greek τόνος (tonos, "strain, tension, pitch"), from τείνω (teinō, "I stretch")

Examples

Comments

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  • "If you can't tone it, tan it." - TP after raging in the Sea Otter Short Track race.

    April 16, 2007