1 quality of a sound, esp. of the human voice
deep, low
hushed, quiet, subdued

Why is everyone speaking in hushed tones?

breathy, gravelly, husky
clear, ringing
sharp, shrill, stentorian, strident
dry, even, flat, level, measured, neutral

The question was posed in a flat tone.

normal, reasonable
brisk, businesslike, matter-of-fact

She answered him in a brisk, matter-of-fact tone.

commanding, defiant, firm
serious, solemn
dramatic, urgent
bright, conversational
calm, friendly, gentle, mild, pleasant, soft, soothing, sympathetic, warm

Her tone was mild, almost conversational.


the sweet tone of the flute

dulcet, honeyed, mellifluous (formal) (all often ironic)

the dulcet tones of the sergeant

clipped, cold, cool, curt, hard, harsh, icy

In cool, clipped tones, he told her what had happened.

aggressive, biting, bitter, condescending, contemptuous, disapproving, dismissive, ironic, mocking, patronizing, playful, sarcastic, sardonic, scathing, teasing

His tone was faintly mocking.

angry, annoyed, exasperated
aggrieved, shocked, worried
bantering, conciliatory, conspiratorial, reverential
adopt, speak in, strike, take, use

When she heard my accent, she adopted a warmer tone.

The President struck a defiant tone.

Don't you take that tone with me.

hear, notice

Her tone was hard to interpret.

not like

Excuse me, I don't like your tone.


His tone changed dramatically when he saw the money.

convey sth, imply sth, indicate sth, suggest sth
sound sth

Her tone sounded sincere but I knew she was lying.

betray sb/sth, give away sb/sth

Her tone betrayed her impatience.

in a/the tone

‘You ought to have thought of them,’ she said in a reproachful tone.

in tones of

‘I don't believe it!’ cried Henry in tones of utter amazement.

a tone of voice

I didn't like his tone of voice; I felt he was being condescending.

2 general quality/style of sb/sth
dominant, general, overall, prevailing

The general tone of the report was positive.

moral, political

The newspaper sets a high moral tone in its editorial about politicians' private lives.

comic, humorous
establish, set

Her enthusiastic speech set the tone for the day's conference.


The movie has a jokey tone throughout.


He uses humour/humor to lighten the tone of the novel.


The music perfectly matches the tone of the movie.

in tone

His letter was very negative in tone.

a change in tone, a change of tone

There is a marked change of tone in the second half of the book.

3 shade of a colour
light, muted, neutral, pale, pastel, soft

muted tones of brown and green

dark, deep
rich, warm
earthy, flesh, grey/gray, natural

What is your natural skin tone?


You should use a foundation that matches your skin tone.

4 on the telephone
dial (AmE), dialling (BrE)
engaged (BrE) (busy signal in AmE)
ring (usually ringtone)

I keep getting the engaged tone.


The dial tone sounded.

Tone is used with these nouns as the object: ↑muscle

Collocations dictionary. 2013.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tone — (t[=o]n), n. [F. ton, L. tonus a sound, tone, fr. Gr. to nos a stretching, straining, raising of the voice, pitch, accent, measure or meter, in pl., modes or keys differing in pitch; akin to tei nein to stretch or strain. See {Thin}, and cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tone — may refer to: MusicTheory* Pitch (music), the perceived frequency of a note or sound (see also pure tone) * Note, the name of a pitch * Whole tone, or major second, a commonly occurring musical interval * Timbre, the quality of a musical note or… …   Wikipedia

  • tone — [tōn] n. [ME < OFr & L: OFr ton < L tonus, a sound < Gr tonos, a stretching, tone < teinein, to stretch: see THIN] 1. a) a vocal or musical sound b) its quality 2. an intonation, pitch, modulation, etc. of the voice that expresses a… …   English World dictionary

  • Tone — bezeichnet: Personen mit dem Vor , Nach oder Künstlernamen Tone, siehe Tone (Name) mehrere japanische Kriegsschiffe: Tone (1907), ein Geschützter Kreuzer Tone (1938), ein schwerer Kreuzer und Typschiff der Tone Klasse Tone (DE 234), eine U Jagd… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tone — Tone, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Toned}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Toning}.] 1. To utter with an affected tone. [1913 Webster] 2. To give tone, or a particular tone, to; to tune. See {Tune}, v. t. [1913 Webster] 3. (Photog.) To bring, as a print, to a certain… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tone — puede referirse a: Lugares: Río Tone (Inglaterra). Un río en Somerset, Inglaterra. Río Tone (Japón). Un río en la región de Kantō. Tone (Ibaraki). Distrito de Tone (Gunma), Japón. Tône, una prefectura en Togo. Barcos: Tone (1910) Tone (1938) Tone …   Wikipedia Español

  • tone in — ˌtone ˈin [intransitive] [present tense I/you/we/they tone in he/she/it tones in present participle toning in past tense …   Useful english dictionary

  • tone — UK US /təʊn/ noun [S] COMMUNICATIONS ► an electronic sound that you hear on a phone line: »Please leave your message after the tone. ● a busy tone Cf. a busy tone → See also DIAL TONE(Cf. ↑dial tone), DIALLING TONE …   Financial and business terms

  • tone — ► NOUN 1) a musical or vocal sound with reference to its pitch, quality, and strength. 2) the sound of a person s voice, expressing a feeling or mood. 3) general character: trust her to lower the tone of the conversation. 4) (also whole tone) a… …   English terms dictionary

  • tone — [n1] pitch, volume accent, emphasis, force, inflection, intonation, modulation, resonance, strength, stress, timbre, tonality; concept 65 tone [n2] attitude, spirit air, approach, aspect, character, condition, current, drift, effect, expression,… …   New thesaurus

  • Tone — Tone, die Rückstände der Verwitterung tonerdehaltiger Silikatgesteine, unterschieden als magere Tone mit größerem, als fette mit geringem Sandgehalt. Ein sehr reiner Ton ist Kaolin (s.d.). Vgl. a. Aluminium …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

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