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(1)   A quality of a given color that differs slightly from a primary color
"After several trials he mixed the shade of pink that she wanted"
(2)   (linguistics) a pitch or change in pitch of the voice that serves to distinguish words in tonal languages
"The Beijing dialect uses four tones"
(3)   (music) the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or noise or musical sound)
"The timbre of her soprano was rich and lovely"
"The muffled tones of the broken bell summoned them to meet"
(4)   The quality of something (an act or a piece of writing) that reveals the attitudes and presuppositions of the author
"The general tone of articles appearing in the newspapers is that the government should withdraw"
"From the tone of her behavior I gathered that I had outstayed my welcome"
(5)   A steady sound without overtones
"They tested his hearing with pure tones of different frequencies"
(6)   A musical interval of two semitones
(7)   A notation representing the pitch and duration of a musical sound
"The singer held the note too long"
(8)   The quality of a person's voice
"He began in a conversational tone"
"He spoke in a nervous tone of voice"
(9)   The general atmosphere of a place or situation and the effect that it has on people
"The feel of the city excited him"
"A clergyman improved the tone of the meeting"
"It had the smell of treason"
(10)   The elastic tension of living muscles, arteries, etc. that facilitate response to stimuli
"The doctor tested my tonicity"


(11)   Give a healthy elasticity to
"Let's tone our muscles"
(12)   Change to a color image
"Tone a photographic image"
(13)   Change the color or tone of
"Tone a negative"
(14)   Vary the pitch of one's speech
(15)   Utter monotonously and repetitively and rhythmically
"The students chanted the same slogan over and over again"


From < < <


  1. A specific pitch.
  2. (in the diatonic scale) An interval of a major second.
  3. (in a Gregorian chant) A recitational melody.
  4. The character of a sound, especially the timbre of an instrument or voice.
  5. The pitch of a word that distinguishes a difference in meaning, for example in Chinese.
  6. The manner in which speech or writing is expressed.
  7. The shade or quality of a colour.
  8. The definition and firmness of a muscle or organ.

Related terms


  1. to give a particular tone to
  2. to change the colour of
  3. to make (something) firmer
  4. to harmonize, especially in colour


  • (give a particular tone to):
  • (change the colour of): color/colour, dye, paint, tint
  • (make firmer): firm, firm up, tone up
  • (harmonize): harmonise/harmonize