tone


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to tone: muscle tone

abrasive tone

A sound that is grating, dissonant, or generally unpleasant to hear. I find that a lot of music has such an abrasive tone these days that I can't even bear to listen to it.
See also: tone

lower the tone

To make something less polite, intellectual, or cultured. The fart jokes really lowered the tone of an otherwise smart and engaging film.
See also: lower, tone

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.
See also: set, tone

tone someone or something up

to make someone or something stronger or more fit, muscularly. I suggested an exercise that would tone him up and make him feel better. The exercises toned up his tummy muscles. I need to get busy and tone myself up.
See also: tone, up

tone something down

to cause something to have less of an impact on the senses of sight or sound; to lessen the impact of something prepared for public performance or consumption. This is rather shocking. You had better tone it down a bit. Tone down this paragraph.
See also: down, tone

tone down

Make less vivid, harsh, or violent; moderate. For example, That's a little too much rouge; I'd tone it down a bit, or Do you think I should tone down this letter of complaint? This idiom uses tone in the sense of "adjust the tone or quality of something," as does the antonym, tone up, meaning "brighten or strengthen." For example, These curtains will tone up the whole room, or This exercise is said to tone up the triceps. [Mid-1800s]
See also: down, tone

lower the tone

If something lowers the tone of a place or event, it makes it seem less respectable. Councillors say plastic-framed windows lower the tone of the neighbourhood. I drank four cans of beer — I pride myself on lowering the tone at parties where everyone else is drinking champagne.
See also: lower, tone

lower the tone

diminish the spirit or moral character of a conversation, place, etc.
Tone here is used to mean the general character or attitude of a conversation, place, piece of writing, etc.
See also: lower, tone

lower the ˈtone (of something)

make the general character and attitude of something, such as a place, a piece of writing or the atmosphere of an event, less polite or respectable: Residents were afraid that a fast-food restaurant would lower the tone of the street.
See also: lower, tone

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

tone down

v.
To make something less vivid, harsh, or violent; moderate something: We toned down our comedy routine so as not to offend our audience. The decorator suggested a beige material to tone the room down.
See also: down, tone

tone in

v.
To match or harmonize with something: The sofa was a strange color, but it toned in well after we painted the walls. That new house doesn't tone in with the rest of the neighborhood.
See also: tone

tone up

v.
1. To make something firmer or stronger: Walking to work has toned up my legs. I toned my stomach up by doing sit-ups every day.
2. To become firmer or stronger: My body has really toned up since I started this exercise program.
See also: tone, up
References in classic literature ?
My name is Manicamp," replied the young man, in a voice whose tones were as harmonious and sweet as the notes of an AEolian harp.
The change will do you good," she said simply, when he had finished; "and you must be sure to go and see Ellen," she added, looking him straight in the eyes with her cloudless smile, and speaking in the tone she might have employed in urging him not to neglect some irksome family duty.
Here Jacques Coictier, who had been unhorsed by the archdeacon's impetuous replies, regained his saddle, and interrupted him with the triumphant tone of one learned man correcting another,--"
The curfew of the cloister sounded at the moment when Master Jacques was repeating to his companion in low tones, his eternal refrain, "He is mad
The tone of his voice startled Rosa, who was sure she had heard it before.
The Prince, observing the fright of Rosa and the pallor of the President, raised his head, and said, in his clear and decided tone, --
It never will be," answered Polly in a tone of calm despair.
she said, in a solemn tone, that made Polly put up her hand as if to ward off an expected blow.
asked Rose, in a school-marmish tone, feeling that all the listeners were interested in her tale and its unexpected application.
She answered with something like warmth in her tone.
This he had done, and was now going on in wooden shoes and in his humble dress, for the bell sounded with so deep a tone, and with such strange power, that proceed he must.
Alice echoed in a tone that was half astonished and half frightened--for the oars, and the boat, and the river, had vanished all in a moment, and she was back again in the little dark shop.
God knows whether they are fully reconciled," thought Anna, hearing her tone, cold and composed.
said aunt Glegg, in her loudest, severest tone of reproof.
Have not names and tones been given unto things that man may refresh himself with them?