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tone - definition and synonyms


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noun tone pronunciation in British English /təʊn/
Word Forms
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  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] the sound of someones 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)!
    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.
  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!
    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
  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. 7
    [uncountable] the firm or healthy quality of your body, muscles, or skin
    muscle/skin tone: The patient’s general muscle tone is good.
  7. 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.


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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