Tone is the use of pitch in language to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning – that is, to distinguish or to inflect words. All verbal languages use pitch to express emotional and other paralinguistic information and to convey emphasis, contrast, and other such features in what is called intonation, but not all languages use tones to distinguish words or their inflections, analogously to consonants and vowels. Such tonal phonemes are sometimes called tonemes 1, where each toneme is a lexically distinct variant of the same phoneme, that is phonetically distinguished from other tonemes only by the tone of the vowel. Tonal ...

The above text is a snippet from Wikipedia: Tone (linguistics)
and as such is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.



  1. A specific pitch.
  2. (in the diatonic scale) An interval of a major second.
  3. (in a Gregorian chant) A recitational melody.
  4. The character of a sound, especially the timbre of an instrument or voice.
  5. General character, mood, or trend.
    Her rousing speech gave an upbeat tone to the rest of the evening.
  6. The pitch of a word that distinguishes a difference in meaning, for example in Chinese.
  7. A whining style of speaking; a kind of mournful or artificial strain of voice; an affected speaking with a measured rhythm and a regular rise and fall of the voice.
    Children often read with a tone.
  8. The manner in which speech or writing is expressed.
  9. State of mind; temper; mood.
  10. The shade or quality of a colour.
  11. The favourable effect of a picture produced by the combination of light and shade, or of colours.
    This picture has tone.
  12. The definition and firmness of a muscle or organ. see also: tonus
  13. The state of a living body or of any of its organs or parts in which the functions are healthy and performed with due vigor.
  14. Normal tension or responsiveness to stimuli.


  1. to give a particular tone to
  2. to change the colour of
  3. to make (something) firmer
  4. to harmonize, especially in colour
  5. To utter with an affected tone.

The above text is a snippet from Wiktionary: tone
and as such is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

Need help with a clue?
Try your search in the crossword dictionary!