Definitions

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

  • n. Music A sound of distinct pitch, quality, and duration; a note.
  • n. Music The interval of a major second in the diatonic scale; a whole step.
  • n. Music A recitational melody in a Gregorian chant.
  • n. The quality or character of sound.
  • n. The characteristic quality or timbre of a particular instrument or voice.
  • n. The pitch of a word used to determine its meaning or to distinguish differences in meaning.
  • n. The particular or relative pitch of a word, phrase, or sentence.
  • n. Manner of expression in speech or writing: took an angry tone with the reporters.
  • n. A general quality, effect, or atmosphere: a room with an elegant tone.
  • n. A color or shade of color: light tones of blue.
  • n. Quality of color: The green wallpaper had a particularly somber tone.
  • n. The general effect in painting of light, color, and shade.
  • n. Physiology The normal state of elastic tension or partial contraction in resting muscles.
  • n. Physiology Normal firmness of a tissue or an organ.
  • transitive v. To give a particular tone or inflection to.
  • transitive v. To soften or change the color of (a painting or photographic negative, for example).
  • transitive v. To sound monotonously; intone.
  • transitive v. To make firmer or stronger. Often used with up: exercises that tone up the body.
  • intransitive v. To assume a particular color quality.
  • intransitive v. To harmonize in color.
  • tone down To make less vivid, harsh, or violent; moderate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A specific pitch.
  • n. (in the diatonic scale) An interval of a major second.
  • n. (in a Gregorian chant) A recitational melody.
  • n. The character of a sound, especially the timbre of an instrument or voice.
  • n. General character, mood, or trend.
  • n. The pitch of a word that distinguishes a difference in meaning, for example in Chinese.
  • n. The manner in which speech or writing is expressed.
  • n. The shade or quality of a colour.
  • n. The definition and firmness of a muscle or organ. see also: tonus
  • n. The state of a living body or of any of its organs or parts in which the functions are healthy and performed with due vigor.
  • n. Normal tension or responsiveness to stimuli.
  • v. to give a particular tone to
  • v. to change the colour of
  • v. to make (something) firmer
  • v. to harmonize, especially in colour
  • pro. The one (of two).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Sound, or the character of a sound, or a sound considered as of this or that character.
  • n. Accent, or inflection or modulation of the voice, as adapted to express emotion or passion.
  • n. A whining style of speaking; a kind of mournful or artificial strain of voice; an affected speaking with a measured rhythm ahd a regular rise and fall of the voice.
  • n.
  • n. A sound considered as to pitch
  • n. The larger kind of interval between contiguous sounds in the diatonic scale, the smaller being called a semitone as, a whole tone too flat; raise it a tone.
  • n. The peculiar quality of sound in any voice or instrument.
  • n. A mode or tune or plain chant.
  • n. That state of a body, or of any of its organs or parts, in which the animal functions are healthy and performed with due vigor.
  • n. Tonicity.
  • n. State of mind; temper; mood.
  • n. Tenor; character; spirit; drift.
  • n. General or prevailing character or style, as of morals, manners, or sentiment, in reference to a scale of high and low.
  • n. The general effect of a picture produced by the combination of light and shade, together with color in the case of a painting; -- commonly used in a favorable sense.
  • n. Quality, with respect to attendant feeling; the more or less variable complex of emotion accompanying and characterizing a sensation or a conceptual state.
  • n. Color quality proper; -- called also hue. Also, a gradation of color, either a hue, or a tint or shade.
  • n. The condition of normal balance of a healthy plant in its relations to light, heat, and moisture.
  • transitive v. To utter with an affected tone.
  • transitive v. To give tone, or a particular tone, to; to tune. See Tune, v. t.
  • transitive v. To bring, as a print, to a certain required shade of color, as by chemical treatment.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • One: originally and usually preceded by the, and usually followed by the tother. See etymology. Compare tother.
  • n. In philology, a distinctive quality or pitch forming in some languages a fixed feature of the pronunciation of words, as in Chinese, Swedish, etc.
  • n. In telephonic testing, the humming noise produced by the introduction of an alternating or rapidly alternating current into the line
  • n. 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).
  • n. 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.
  • n. Modulation, inflection, or accent of the voice, as adapted to express sentiment, emotion, or passion.
  • n. An affected or artificial style of intonation in speaking or reading; a sing-song or measured rhythmical manner of speaking.
  • n. 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.
  • n. In Gregorian music, a melody or tune traditionally associated with a particular text; an ancient psalm-tune. See chant .
  • n. 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.
  • n. State or temper of mind; mood.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A quality of color; a tint; a shade.
  • n. In chromatics, see the first quotation.
  • n. 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.
  • n. In grammar, syllabic accent; stress of voice on one of the syllables of a word.
  • n. In playing on musical instruments of the stringed and brass wind groups, a tone produced from an open string or without the use of valves or other modifiers of the pitch. Opposed to stopped tone.
  • n. Synonyms Noise, etc. See sound.

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

  • n. (music) the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or noise or musical sound)
  • n. a musical interval of two semitones
  • n. the general atmosphere of a place or situation and the effect that it has on people
  • n. the quality of something (an act or a piece of writing) that reveals the attitudes and presuppositions of the author
  • n. a notation representing the pitch and duration of a musical sound
  • v. change to a color image
  • n. the elastic tension of living muscles, arteries, etc. that facilitate response to stimuli
  • n. the quality of a person's voice
  • n. a quality of a given color that differs slightly from another color
  • v. utter monotonously and repetitively and rhythmically
  • v. vary the pitch of one's speech
  • n. (linguistics) a pitch or change in pitch of the voice that serves to distinguish words in tonal languages
  • n. a steady sound without overtones
  • v. change the color or tone of
  • v. give a healthy elasticity to

Etymologies

Middle English ton, from Old French, from Latin tonus, from Greek tonos, string, a stretching.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French ton, from Latin tonus ("sound, tone"), from Ancient Greek τόνος (tonos, "strain, tension, pitch"), from τείνω (teinō, "I stretch") (Wiktionary)
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. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

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

    April 16, 2007