Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

tone

 - definitions and thesaurus
 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
noun tone pronunciation in British English /təʊn/ 
Word Forms
Close
singulartone
pluraltones
  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] the sound of someone's voice that shows what they are feeling

    Meredith trembled at the tenderness in his tone.

    a tone of voice:

    'Really?' Simone said in a surprised tone of voice.

    Don't you take that tone of voice with me (=don't speak to me so rudely)!

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of tone
    1. a.
      the type of sound that someone makes with their voice in a particular situation

      They were sitting close together, talking in hushed tones.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of tone
  2. 2
    [singular/uncountable] the general character of a place or event

    The positive tone of the evening had changed completely.

    set the tone (for something):

    The opening remarks set the tone for the rest of the interview.

    raise/lower the tone (of something):

    Trust you to lower the tone of the whole conversation!

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of tone
    1. a.
      the general attitude shown by a piece of writing

      Much of his writing has a rather strident tone to it.

      in tone:

      Their next letter was more optimistic in tone.

  3. 3
    [countable/uncountable] music the quality of the sound made by a musical instrument, voice, or piece of electronic equipment

    a flute with a clear bright tone

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of tone
  4. 4
    [countable] a sound made by a piece of equipment as a signal or warning

    I picked up the phone and just got a beeping tone.

    The answering machine said to leave a message after the tone.

    the engaged tone (=the sound you hear when the number you want to telephone is being used):

    I keep getting the engaged tone.

  5. 5
    [countable] a colour or a particular shade (=type) of a colour

    a tweed coat in subtle tones of purple and green

    her olive skin tone

  6. 6
    [countable] music an amount equal to two semitones by which a musical note is higher or lower than another note
    Synonyms and related words for this sense of tone
  7. 7
    [uncountable] the firm or healthy quality of your body, muscles, or skin
    muscle/skin tone:

    The patient's general muscle tone is good.

  8. 8
    [countable/uncountable] linguistics the degree to which the sound of a word or part of a word is high or low

    You use a rising tone in English to indicate a question.

likebait

web content which is specifically intended to make Facebook users click the 'Like' button associated with it

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Grexit

the possibility of Greece leaving the Eurozone …

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog