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noun tone pronunciation in American English /toʊn/
Word Forms
  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 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.

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

    a plaid skirt 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 teaching method in which groups of children learn independently using a computer linked to the internet

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a derogatory word used for referring to people in the banking and investment industry who are thought of as taking serious risks in order to increase their own earnings …

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