[ in-toh-ney-shuh n, -tuh- ]
/ ˌɪn toʊˈneɪ ʃən, -tə- /


the pattern or melody of pitch changes in connected speech, especially the pitch pattern of a sentence, which distinguishes kinds of sentences or speakers of different language cultures.
the act or manner of intonating.
the manner of producing musical tones, specifically the relation in pitch of tones to their key or harmony.
something that is intoned or chanted.
the opening phrase in a Gregorian chant, usually sung by one or two voices.

Origin of intonation

First recorded in 1610–20, intonation is from the Medieval Latin word intonātiōn- (stem of intonātiō). See intonate, -ion


in·to·na·tion·al, adjective

Example sentences from the Web for intonation

British Dictionary definitions for intonation

/ (ˌɪntəʊˈneɪʃən) /


the sound pattern of phrases and sentences produced by pitch variation in the voice
the act or manner of intoning
an intoned, chanted, or monotonous utterance; incantation
music the opening of a piece of plainsong, sung by a soloist
  1. the correct or accurate pitching of intervals
  2. the capacity to play or sing in tuneSee also just intonation

Derived forms of intonation

intonational, adjective