- n. & v.
1 a musical or vocal sound, esp. with reference to its pitch, quality, and strength.
2 (often in pl.) modulation of the voice expressing a particular feeling or mood (a cheerful tone; suspicious tones).
3 a manner of expression in writing.
4 Mus. a a musical sound, esp. of a definite pitch and character. b an interval of a major second, e.g. C-D.
5 a the general effect of colour or of light and shade in a picture. b the tint or shade of a colour.
6 a the prevailing character of the morals and sentiments etc. in a group. b an attitude or sentiment expressed esp. in a letter etc.
7 the proper firmness of bodily organs.
8 a state of good or specified health or quality.
9 Phonet. a an accent on one syllable of a word. b a way of pronouncing a word to distinguish it from others of a similar sound (Mandarin Chinese has four tones).
1 tr. give the desired tone to.
2 tr. modify the tone of.
3 intr. (often foll. by to) attune.
4 intr. (foll. by with) be in harmony (esp. of colour) (does not tone with the wallpaper).
5 tr. Photog. give (a monochrome picture) an altered colour in finishing by means of a chemical solution.
6 intr. undergo a change in colour by toning.
Phrases and idioms:
tone-arm the movable arm supporting the pick-up of a record-player. tone control a switch for varying the proportion of high and low frequencies in reproduced sound. tone-deaf unable to perceive differences of musical pitch accurately. tone-deafness the condition of being tone-deaf. tone down
1 make or become softer in tone of sound or colour.
2 make (a statement etc.) less harsh or emphatic. tone poem = symphonic poem. tone-row = SERIES 8. tone up 1 make or become stronger in tone of sound or colour.
2 make (a statement etc.) more emphatic. whole-tone scale see WHOLE.
toneless adj. tonelessly adv. toner n.
Etymology: ME f. OF ton or L tonus f. Gk tonos tension, tone f. teino stretch
Useful english dictionary. 2012.