tone Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

Meaning of “tone” in the English Dictionary

"tone" in British English

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uk   /təʊn/  us   /toʊn/


B2 [U] a ​quality in the ​voice that ​expresses the speaker's ​feelings or ​thoughts, often towards the ​person being ​spoken to: I ​tried to use a ​sympathetic tone of ​voice. Don't ​speak to me in that tone of ​voice (= ​angrily), ​younglady! It wasn't so much what she said that ​annoyed me - it was her tone.tones [plural] literary the ​quality of someone's ​voice: She ​recounted the ​story to me inshocked tones (= in a ​shockedvoice). I could ​hear the ​low tones of my ​parentstalking in the next ​room. For more than ​half a ​century, the ​reassuring tones of BBC ​newscasters have ​informed British ​televisionviewers about ​worldevents. [U] specialized phonetics a ​change in how high or ​low the ​voice is that can ​change the ​meaning of a word or ​sentence
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tone noun (GENERAL MOOD)

C2 [S] the ​generalmood or ​mainqualities of something: I didn't like the ​jokey tone of the ​article - I ​thought it was ​inappropriate. Trust you to lower the tone of the ​evening by ​tellingdisgustingjokes, ​Mark! Both ​candidates need to raise the tone of the ​campaign, as the ​electorate is ​tired of ​negativecampaigning. He was in a very ​badmood when he ​arrived, and that set the tone for the ​wholemeeting.
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tone noun (COLOUR)

[C] a ​form or ​degree of a ​colour: warm tones of ​brown and ​yellow

tone noun (TIGHTNESS)

[U] the ​healthytightness of the ​body, ​especially the ​muscles: After you've had a ​baby you ​lose the muscle tone in ​yourstomach.


[C] mainly UK (US usually whole step) the ​largestdifference in pitch between two ​notes that are next to each other in the ​westernmusical scale: The ​interval from G to A is a whole tone.


[C or U] the ​quality of ​sound of a ​musicalinstrument or ​singingvoice: the ​beautifulrich tones of his ​tenorvoice

tone noun (PHONE NOISE)

B2 [C] one of the ​continuoussounds that you ​hear on a ​phone that ​tell you if the other ​phone is ​ringing, if it is ​busy, etc.: I've called him several ​times but I ​keep getting the ​engaged tone. Please ​wait until you ​hear the dialling tone (= the ​sound that a ​phone makes when it is ​ready to be used).

toneverb [T]

uk   /təʊn/  us   /toʊn/ (also tone up)
If you tone a ​part of the ​body, you make it ​firmer and ​stronger, usually by doing ​physicalexercise: This is a good ​exercise for toning up the ​thighs.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of tone from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"tone" in American English

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 us   /toʊn/


[U] a ​quality in the ​voice, esp. one that ​expresses the speaker’s ​feelings, often toward the ​person being ​addressed: His tone was ​apologetic.

tone noun (MOOD)

[U] the ​mood or ​generalfeeling of something: The tone of his ​remarks was confident and ​reassuring. literature [U] The tone of a ​piece of writing ​expresses the writer's ​attitude toward the ​subject or the ​reader: The ​angry tone of this ​essayreveals her ​feelings about the ​war.

tone noun (SOUND)

[C usually sing] a ​musical, ​mechanical, or ​voicesound on one ​note: If you ​wish to ​leave a ​message, ​pleasewait until after the tone.


[C/U] music the ​quality of ​sound of a ​musicalinstrument or ​singingvoice [C/U] music A tone is also a ​step .

tone noun (FIRM QUALITY)

[U] (esp. of ​muscles) the ​quality of being ​healthy and ​firm: Swimming ​helps to ​develop good ​muscle tone.

tone noun (COLOR)

art [C] a ​feature of ​colorrelated to ​itsbrightness or the ​amount of ​light it ​reflects
(Definition of tone from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"tone" in Business English

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tonenoun [S]

uk   us   /təʊn/ COMMUNICATIONS
an ​electronicsound that you hear on a ​phoneline: Please ​leave your ​message after the tone.
a busy tone ( US also the busy tone, UK also an engaged tone) an ​electronicsound when you ​call a ​phonenumber that tells you the ​person you are ​calling is already using the ​phone for another ​call: I've ​triedcalling her several ​times but I ​keep on getting a ​busy tone.
(Definition of tone from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“tone” in Business English

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