Definitions for: Tone

[n] 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"
[n] (linguistics) a pitch or change in pitch of the voice that serves to distinguish words in tonal languages; "the Beijing dialect uses four tones"
[n] 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"
[n] 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"
[n] a steady sound without overtones; "they tested his hearing with pure tones of different frequencies"
[n] a musical interval of two semitones
[n] a notation representing the pitch and duration of a musical sound; "the singer held the note too long"
[n] the quality of a person's voice; "he began in a conversational tone"; "he spoke in a nervous tone of voice"
[n] 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"
[n] the elastic tension of living muscles, arteries, etc. that facilitate response to stimuli; "the doctor tested my tonicity"
[v] give a healthy elasticity to; "Let's tone our muscles"
[v] change to a color image; of photography
[v] change the color or tone of

Webster (1913) Definition: Tone, n.
1. (Physiol.) Quality, with respect to attendant feeling; the
more or less variable complex of emotion accompanying and
characterizing a sensation or a conceptual state; as,
feeling tone; color tone.

2. Color quality proper; -- called also hue. Also, a
gradation of color, either a hue, or a tint or shade.

She was dressed in a soft cloth of a gray tone.
--Sir G.

3. (Plant Physiol.) The condition of normal balance of a
healthy plant in its relations to light, heat, and

Tone, n. [F. ton, L. tonus a sound, tone, fr. Gr. ? a
stretching, straining, raising of the voice, pitch, accent,
measure or meter, in pl., modes or keys differing in pitch;
akin to ? to stretch or strain. See Thin, and cf.
Monotonous, Thunder, Ton fasion,Tune.]
1. Sound, or the character of a sound, or a sound considered
as of this or that character; as, a low, high, loud,
grave, acute, sweet, or harsh tone.

[Harmony divine] smooths her charming tones.

Tones that with seraph hymns might blend. --Keble.

2. (Rhet.) Accent, or inflection or modulation of the voice,
as adapted to express emotion or passion.

Eager his tone, and ardent were his eyes. --Dryden.

3. 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;
as, children often read with a tone.

4. (Mus.)
(a) A sound considered as to pitch; as, the seven tones of
the octave; she has good high tones.
(b) 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.
(c) The peculiar quality of sound in any voice or
instrument; as, a rich tone, a reedy tone.
(d) A mode or tune or plain chant; as, the Gregorian

Note: The use of the word tone, both for a sound and for the
interval between two sounds or tones, is confusing, but
is common -- almost universal.

Note: Nearly every musical sound is composite, consisting of
several simultaneous tones having different rates of
vibration according to fixed laws, which depend upon
the nature of the vibrating body and the mode of
excitation. The components (of a composite sound) are
called partial tones; that one having the lowest rate
of vibration is the fundamental tone, and the other
partial tones are called harmonics, or overtones. The
vibration ratios of the partial tones composing any
sound are expressed by all, or by a part, of the
numbers in the series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.; and the
quality of any sound (the tone color) is due in part to
the presence or absence of overtones as represented in
this series, and in part to the greater or less
intensity of those present as compared with the
fundamental tone and with one another. Resultant tones,
combination tones, summation tones, difference tones,
Tartini's tones (terms only in part synonymous) are
produced by the simultaneous sounding of two or more
primary (simple or composite) tones.

5. (Med.) 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.

Note: In this sense, the word is metaphorically applied to
character or faculties, intellectual and moral; as, his
mind has lost its tone.

6. (Physiol.) Tonicity; as, arterial tone.

7. State of mind; temper; mood.

The strange situation I am in and the melancholy
state of public affairs, . . . drag the mind down .
. . from a philosophical tone or temper, to the
drudgery of private and public business.

Their tone was dissatisfied, almost menacing. --W.
C. Bryant.

8. Tenor; character; spirit; drift; as, the tone of his
remarks was commendatory.

9. General or prevailing character or style, as of morals,
manners, or sentiment, in reference to a scale of high and
low; as, a low tone of morals; a tone of elevated
sentiment; a courtly tone of manners.

10. 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; as, this picture has tone.

Tone color. (Mus.) see the Note under def. 4, above.

Tone syllable, an accented syllable. --M. Stuart.

Tone, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Toned; p. pr. & vb. n.
1. To utter with an affected tone.

2. To give tone, or a particular tone, to; to tune. See
Tune, v. t.

3. (Photog.) To bring, as a print, to a certain required
shade of color, as by chemical treatment.

To tone down.
(a) To cause to give lower tone or sound; to give a lower
tone to.
(b) (Paint.) To modify, as color, by making it less
brilliant or less crude; to modify, as a composition
of color, by making it more harmonius.

Its thousand hues toned down harmoniusly. --C.
(c) Fig.: To moderate or relax; to diminish or weaken the
striking characteristics of; to soften.

The best method for the purpose in hand was to
employ some one of a character and position
suited to get possession of their confidence,
and then use it to tone down their religious
strictures. --Palfrey.

To tone up, to cause to give a higher tone or sound; to
give a higher tone to; to make more intense; to heighten;
to strengthen.

Synonyms: feel, feeling, flavor, flavour, look, musical note, note, pure tone, quality, shade, smell, spirit, step, strengthen, timber, timbre, tincture, tint, tone of voice, tone up, tonicity, tonus, whole step, whole tone

Antonyms: amyotonia, atonia, atonicity, atony

See Also: acciaccatura, ambiance, ambience, appoggiatura, atmosphere, auditory sensation, blue note, catatonia, chord, color, color, color in, coloration, coloring, colorise, colorize, colour, colour, colour in, colouration, colouring, colourise, colourize, crotchet, delivery, demisemiquaver, discolor, discolour, dominant, eighth note, exercise, fullness, grace note, half note, harmonic, harshness, hemidemisemiquaver, interval, keynote, leading tone, manner of speaking, mediant, mellowness, middle C, minim, muscle tone, muscular tonus, musical interval, musical notation, musical scale, myotonia, nasality, passing note, passing tone, pedal, pedal point, pitch, plangency, quarter note, quaver, register, resonance, reverberance, richness, ringing, roughness, scale, semibreve, semiquaver, shake, shrillness, sixteenth note, sixty-fourth note, sonority, sonorousness, sound, sound property, speech, stridence, stridency, subdominant, submediant, subtonic, supertonic, tautness, tenseness, tension, tensity, thirty-second note, tinge, tonic, trill, undertone, undertone, vibrancy, whole note, work out, Zeitgeist

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