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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A succession of sounds or words uttered in a single tone of voice.
  • n. Music A single tone repeated with different words or time values, especially in a rendering of a liturgical text.
  • n. Music A chant in a single tone.
  • n. Sameness or dull repetition in sound, style, manner, or color.
  • adj. Characterized by or uttered in a monotone: a monotone recitation of names.
  • adj. Of or having a single color: a cat with a monotone coat.
  • adj. Mathematics Designating sequences, the successive members of which either consistently increase or decrease but do not oscillate in relative value. Each member of a monotone increasing sequence is greater than or equal to the preceding member; each member of a monotone decreasing sequence is less than or equal to the preceding member.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. having a single unvaried pitch
  • adj. property of a function to be either always decreasing or always increasing
  • n. A single unvaried tone of speech or a sound
  • v. To speak in a monotone.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A single unvaried tone or sound.
  • n. The utterance of successive syllables, words, or sentences, on one unvaried key or line of pitch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In rhetoric, a sameness of tone; the utterance of successive syllables at one unvaried pitch, with little or no inflection or cadence.
  • n. Monotony or sameness of style in writing or speaking.
  • n. In music:
  • n. A single tone, without harmony or variation in pitch.
  • n. Recitation of words in such a tone, especially in a church service, sometimes with harmonic accompaniment and with occasional inflections or melodic variations; intoning; chanting.
  • n. Something spoken or written in one tone or strain.
  • To recite in a single, unvaried tone; intone; chant.
  • n. A single or uniform tint or color.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of a sequence or function; consistently increasing and never decreasing or consistently decreasing and never increasing in value
  • adj. sounded or spoken in a tone unvarying in pitch
  • n. an unchanging intonation
  • n. a single tone repeated with different words or different rhythms (especially in rendering liturgical texts)


From Greek monotonos, monotonous; see monotonous.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the post-Classical Latin monotonus ("unvarying in tone") or its etymon the Ancient Greek μονότονος (monotonos, "steady”, “unwavering"); compare cognate adjectives, namely the French monotone, the German monoton, the Italian monotono, and the Spanish monótono, as well as the slightly earlier English noun monotony and adjective monotonical. (Wiktionary)


  • It features Kareem Abdul Jabbar jabbering in monotone about the dangers of strangers, among things.

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  • Barbara Wersba's review topped the Times's page, headlined "One of the most moving books ever written for children ..." and below followed June Jordan's: ".... or just another horror story told in monotone?"

    He says . . she says

  • Synopsis: An chiaroscurist - an artist who specializes in monotone pictures which highlight might and shadow - sculpts the face of god in a monastery.

    4/06 UPDATE: My New Year's Resolution

  • Most of the travel has been in monotone "Seed", but the tempo has been the profit-motive, except those years such as 1944/45/46 when I tried to do my part in the role of UNRRA's European Seed Co-Ordinator.

    The World As I Seed It

  • Next, Henderson changes her mind about what sort of book cover she’s looking for: she doesn’t want a single title, but a * series* of books with images in monotone like Hamilton’s.

    The Cover Debate — Covered [updated - more covers] « Urban Fantasy Land

  • Everyone’s favorite caustic, raspy monotone is back for more science fiction-fantasy-mystery hybrid goodness.

    Current Movie Reviews, Independent Movies - Film Threat

  • She gazed absently at the wall and sang in monotone.

    Fahad Faruqui: A Mother Holding on to Allah in Trying Times

  • Words bawled out in a monotone are apt to become confused, as is often illustrated by the train announcers in our railway stations.

    Public Speaking

  • It's hard to say the vuvuzela is melodious; its sound can be best described as a monotone swarm of bees (judge for yourself with this news report).

    FP Passport

  • Wai Lana has a soothing voice that my husband calls monotone, but I find is slightly melodious and very easy to ignore when I'm doing something else, but easy to hear and calming to listen to when I do.



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