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Definition of Tone


  1. 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.
  3. The condition of normal balance of a healthy plant in its relations to light, heat, and moisture.
  4. 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.
  5. Accent, or inflection or modulation of the voice, as adapted to express emotion or passion.
  6. 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.
  7. A sound considered as to pitch; as, the seven tones of the octave; she has good high tones.
  8. 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.
  9. The peculiar quality of sound in any voice or instrument; as, a rich tone, a reedy tone.
  10. A mode or tune or plain chant; as, the Gregorian tones.
  11. 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.
  12. Tonicity; as, arterial tone.
  13. State of mind; temper; mood.
  14. Tenor; character; spirit; drift; as, the tone of his remarks was commendatory.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. To utter with an affected tone.
  18. To give tone, or a particular tone, to; to tune. See Tune, v. t.
  19. To bring, as a print, to a certain required shade of color, as by chemical treatment.

Tone Quotations

I have tried to be a leader. I have tried in my role of being one of the first women at Google, let alone the first woman to have a baby, to really try to set the tone that this is a great place to work for diversity reasons.
Susan Wojcicki

With 'Black Rain,' I spent a lot of time with homicide detectives, and I spent a lot of time with different brokers on 'Wall Street.' It helps get the rhythm of the piece and the tone, and how overplayed or underplayed it might be. That's also the magic of movies: You get to hang out and live these different lives.
Michael Douglas

People have entire relationships via text message now, but I am not partial to texting. I need context, nuance and the warmth and tone that can only come from a human voice.
Danielle Steel

In teaching color, you teach people how to look something and see the tone in it and break it down to be able to paint it and reproduce that color. But then, I'm psychedelic, so I look at color differently. I like colors that are in contrast with one another, so that they flicker back and forth.
John Van Hamersveld

We are not won by arguments that we can analyze, but by tone and temper; by the manner, which is the man himself.
Louis D. Brandeis
More "Tone" Quotations

Tone Translations

tone in Afrikaans is toon
tone in Dutch is toon, intonatie
tone in German is Ton, Klang
tone in Italian is suono
tone in Portuguese is tom
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