Definition of intonation noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˌɪntəˈneɪʃn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˌɪntəˈneɪʃn//
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  1. 1 [uncountable, countable] (phonetics) the rise and fall of the voice in speaking, especially as this affects the meaning of what is being said intonation patterns In English, some questions have a rising intonation. Her voice was low with a faint regional intonation. the rising intonation at the end of spoken questions She’s studying intonation patterns in children’s speech. compare stress Wordfindercluster, consonant, diphthong, elide, intonation, phonetics, pronunciation, stress, tone, voiced See related entries: Phonetics
  2. 2 [uncountable] (music) the quality of playing or singing exactly in tune The violin’s intonation was poor.
  3. Word Originearly 17th cent. (originally meaning the opening phrase of a plainsong melody): from medieval Latin intonatio(n-), from intonare, from in- ‘into’ + Latin tonus ‘tone’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: intonation