set the tone

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set the tone

To establish the mood of something, or the manner in which something will be conducted. Her warm greeting really set the tone for the dinner party, which was one of the loveliest I have ever attended. The first paragraph really sets the tone for the rest of the piece by introducing subtle humor and an unexpected point of view.
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set the ˈtone (of/for something)

create or establish a general feeling or atmosphere among a group of people (about a particular subject): His very clever and very funny speech set the tone for the rest of the evening.
See also: set, tone
References in periodicals archive ?
A classic stone and modern glass facade sets the tone for what is perhaps the most beautiful new building in Manhattan.
The DVD begins with the literal David and Goliath story and it sets the tone of the movie before turning to the metaphorical telling of the story through the dilemma faced by a bug village.
The Roaring Twenties sets the tone for this political tragicomedy about the adventures of two aristocrats' journey in Cuba to meet one of their idols, a reclusive yet celebrated stage actress, who has just returned to the stage.
The first story sets the tone for the book and the depth of feelings that are carried through to the last.
The site is adjacent to Campo Baeza's Caja General de Ahorros office block (AR August 2002), which in its monumentality tempered by thoughtful use of materials sets the tone for the new building and also engages it in a formal dialogue.
The title alone, Screams From the Furnace, sets the tone for this psychological thriller.
The choreographic vision of James Kudelka, artistic director since 1996, sets the tone.
Dial Direct Insurance Marketing specialises in providing low cost personal, motor and sets the tone as household insurance policies, selling directly to the public through its telephone-based operation.
The opening long poem, "Against Elegies," sets the tone from the very first lines:
Balancing Reagon's introduction, which explains the project and sets the tone, are an extensive discography and an annotated bibliography by Lisa Pertillar Brevard.
The initial price that a product carries to market sets the tone for that product's whole life and often has a meaningful impact on other products in the portfolio," said Chavez.
The new Gingergrass in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles sets the tone of its ``fresh Vietnamese cuisine'' with its house salad ($7.
With these words, Singer sets the tone of self-deprecating, wry humor that marks Robert's journey from misfit to flawed hero.
Living up to his legend, Isaac Hayes beautifully sets the tone in a moving Foreword.