tone Definition

  • 1the general character or attitude of a place, piece of writing, situation, etc.
  • 2a musical or vocal sound with reference to its pitch, quality, and strength
  • 3the modulation of a person's voice expressing a particular feeling or mood

Using tone: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "tone" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The tone of the meeting was very positive.

  • Example

    The tone of the book is quite formal.

  • Example

    She spoke in a cheerful tone.

  • Example

    The tone of the guitar was perfect.

tone Synonyms and Antonyms

Idioms Using tone

  • in agreement or harmony with something


    His actions were not in tone with his words.

  • make something less forceful or offensive


    He had to tone down his criticism to avoid offending his colleagues.

  • tone-deaf

    lacking an appreciation of music or an understanding of musical concepts


    I'm completely tone-deaf and can't carry a tune.

Phrases with tone

  • the way someone speaks to express their feelings or mood


    I could tell from his tone of voice that he was angry.

  • establish a particular mood or character for a situation


    The opening speech set the tone for the entire conference.

  • change one's tone

    alter the manner or style of one's speech


    She changed her tone when she realized she was being too harsh.

Origins of tone

from Old French 'ton', from Latin 'tonus', meaning 'sound'


Summary: tone in Brief

The term 'tone' [tohn] refers to the general character or attitude of a place, piece of writing, or situation. It can also refer to the musical or vocal sound of a person or instrument. 'Tone' extends into phrases like 'tone of voice,' and idioms like 'tone down,' denoting making something less forceful or offensive. It can also be used to describe someone who is tone-deaf, lacking an appreciation of music.

How do native speakers use this expression?