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Re: Set the tone

Posted by Smokey Stover on August 12, 2005

In Reply to: Set the tone posted by Fariba on August 12, 2005

: What is the meaninig of set the tone

Tone, here, is one of several transferred or figurative meanings derived from the original meaning of a musical tone. It means, here (from the OED), style, attitude, spirit, character, tenor . When we "set the tone" it is always the tone of something specific. If we, for instance, "set the tone of the conversation," then we "establish the character, the tenor, of the conversation, its spirit." The character which we set could be rude, it could be insultingly critical, it could be quiet and bland, it could be earnest and polite, and so on. SS