- 1A musical or vocal sound with reference to its pitch, quality, and strength: they were speaking in hushed tones the piano tone appears lacking in warmthMore example sentences
- Yes, his name is uttered amongst the musical cognoscenti in hushed tones.
- By the time the entrées arrived, I found myself taking tiny bites and talking in hushed tones about the quality of the parsnips in my soup.
- She started to laugh, the musical tones reverberating through the halls before quieting.
- 1.1A modulation of the voice expressing a particular feeling or mood: a firm tone of voiceMore example sentences
- I can see their expression and hear their tone of voice now, clear as anything.
- She was excited, but couldn't manage a happy tone of voice to express it.
- I could see some of the excitement drain out of her expression and her tone of voice changed.
- 1.2A musical note or other sound used as a signal on a telephone or answering machine.More example sentences
- His mobile telephone rang with a tone indicating he was in Spain but was switched off without a word being said.
- The harsh tone of the telephone disrupts my slumber.
- I make sure the volume on my beep tone is always turned up as high as it will go.
- 2The general character or attitude of a place, piece of writing, situation, etc.: trust her to lower the tone of the conversation there was a general tone of ill-concealed glee in the reportingMore example sentences
- The general tone of the piece is cynical, morbid and unpleasantly other-worldly.
- The general tone of the piece was quite positive.
- She'd written most of the lyrics, and it was surprising that he'd caught on about the general tone of the piece.
- 3 (also whole tone) A basic interval in classical Western music, equal to two semitones and separating, for example, the first and second notes of an ordinary scale (such as C and D, or E and F sharp); a major second: the B flat clarinet’s part is written one tone higher than the pitch requiredMore example sentences
- He uses this music to introduce octaves, accented rhythms, a whole tone scale and a continuous cross-hand pattern.
- At the climax of the third chant, she so subdivides her forces that eventually, all twelve tones of the chromatic scale are encompassed.
- The Hellenistic mind of the Byzantines allowed musicians to draw systems of tones from the music of ancient Greece.
- 4The particular quality of brightness, deepness, or hue of a shade of a colour: stained glass in vivid tones of red and blue [mass noun]: an attractive colour which is even in tone and textureMore example sentences
- The paintings seem at first to be sombre in tone, coloured mostly by umbers and sepia-like hues.
- His visible brushstrokes in the foreground and creamy subdued tones interspersed with bright oranges and red hues are very seductive.
- Other than delicate pink flesh tones, heavenly shades of blue predominate, accented with green and white.
- 4.1 [mass noun] The general effect of colour or of light and shade in a picture.More example sentences
- Here Turner had moved away from recording topography and was preoccupied with achieving specific effects of light and tone.
- I'm sure the genius that was Joseph Mallord William Turner, landscaping master of light, tone and shade would fully endorse some of the previous groundbreaking entries.
- Light's bleaching glare may saturate the picture plane, obscuring tone, details and minute particulars.
- 5 Phonetics (In some languages, such as Chinese) a particular pitch pattern on a syllable used to make semantic distinctions.More example sentences
- Ethnic Liberian languages usually contain two or three distinct tones, based on pitch, which indicate semantic or grammatical differences.
- Chinese pronunciation involves four tones, each indicated by a tone mark.
- Every syllable has an associated tone or pitch - high, low, medium, falling, rising, or whatever.
- 5.1(In some languages, such as English) intonation on a word or phrase used to add functional meaning.More example sentences
- In English, these tones suggest finality, the fall frequently occurring at the end of a statement, the rise at the end of a yes-no question.
- 6 (also muscle tone) [mass noun] The normal level of firmness or slight contraction in a resting muscle: a reduction of muscle tone a certain amount of daily exercise is essential to maintain proper body tone and functionMore example sentences
- The Apgar score was based on heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex irritability, and skin color.
- I agree with him that upper airway muscle tone is decreased during sleep and is an important component of obstructive sleep apnea.
- Physical exercise also is encouraged to assist in weight reduction and increase muscle tone.
- 6.1 Physiology The normal level of activity in a nerve fibre: vagal toneMore example sentences
- Abnormal exams included clearly severe abnormalities in motor tone, levels of activity, or delays.
- Apparently, the increase in ectopic beats might be related to the increase in vagal tone.
- An increase of vagal tone after exercise occasionally can lead to episodes of atrial fibrillation.
verb[with object] Back to top
- 1Give greater strength or firmness to (the body or a muscle): exercise tones up the musclesMore example sentences
- Kata training is great for defense, raising your level of fitness, toning your body muscles and releasing those dangerously high levels of stress.
- It strengthens and tones your muscles, raises your body's metabolism and knocks up to six inches off your waist, hips and stomach measurement in a single session
- It is also great for toning your upper body, arms and leg muscles.
- 1.1 [no object] (tone up) (Of a muscle or other bodily part) became stronger or firmer: his leg muscles had toned upMore example sentences
- He had a lot to say about muscle, tissue and toning up.
- But Alex warns that weight isn't always a reliable indication of how effect your fitness regime is; you could be toning up and turning muscle to fat, but it won't necessarily show on the scales.
- Even after just a few sessions, you will see your muscles tone up, fatty places firm up and even a few pounds fall away.
- 2 [no object] (tone with) Harmonize with (something) in terms of colour: the rich orange colour of the wood tones beautifully with the yellow rosesMore example sentences
- Keep the floor simple by sanding and add blocks of colour in rugs in pastels that tone with billowing curtains on poles in chintz and damask.
- Some men had shirts made to measure to tone with the suit.
- The colors were perfectly toned with his skin and hair and eye color.
- 3 Photography Give (a monochrome picture) an altered colour in finishing by means of a chemical solution: it’s a good idea to sepia tone the whole print firstMore example sentences
- With the toner used at full strength, the print should be fully toned in about six to eight minutes.
- Unlike selenium, which selectively tones the low values first, gold toners tend to affect the entire image at once.
- Sepia toning originally was developed to extend the archival life of early black-and-white silver-based prints.
tone something down
- Make something less harsh in sound or colour: a green-tinged moisturizer helps to tone down a ruddy complexionMore example sentences
subdue, make less garish, soften, lighten, dim, mute
- I would suggest toning the colours down a bit, so it's not quite so harsh on the eyes
- We have gone away from the bright colour scheme and toned it down slightly.
- Would it really have detracted if the big keyboard synth sounds had been toned down to a minimum?
- Make something less extreme or intense: she saw the need to tone down her protestsMore example sentences
- Critics last night claimed the report had been toned down because of concerns that its most ‘extreme’ findings would ruffle too many feathers within the establishment.
- Next time, boys, it may be possible to tone it down just a notch without losing any of the entertainment value.
- Brendan heard himself being melodramatic and toned it down a couple of notches.
Middle English: from Old French ton, from Latin tonus, from Greek tonos 'tension, tone', from teinein 'to stretch'.