TONE, n. [L. tonus; Gr. sound; L. tono; Gr. to sound, to strain or stretch. The L. sonus is probably the same word in a different dialect.]

1. Sound, or modification of sound; any impulse or vibration of the air which is perceptible by the ear; as a low tone, high tone, or loud tone; a grave tone; an acute tone; a sweet tone; a harsh tone.

2. Accent; or rather, a particular inflection of the voice, adapted to express emotion or passion; a rhetorical sense of the word.

Eager his tone, and ardent were his eyes.

3. A whining sound; a whine; a kind of mournful strain of voice; as, children often read with a tone.

4. An affected sound in speaking.

5. In music, an interval of sound; as, the difference between the diapente and diatessaron, is a tone. Of tones there are two kinds, major and minor. The tone major is in the ratio of 8 to 9, which results from the difference between the fourth and fifth. The tone minor is as 9 to 10, resulting from the difference between the minor third and the fourth.

6. The tone of an instrument, is its peculiar sound with regard to softness, evenness and the like.

7. In medicine,that state of organization in a body, in which the animal functions are healthy and performed with due vigor. Tone, in its primary signification, is tension, and tension is the primary signification of strength. Hence its application to the natural healthy state of animal organs. Tone therefore in medicine, is the strength and activity of the organs, from which proceed healthy functions. So we say, the body is in a sound state, the health is sound or firm.

TONE, v.t. To utter with an affected tone.

1. To tune. [See Tune.]