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keynote

[kee-noht] /ˈkiˌnoʊt/
noun
1.
Music. the note or tone on which a key or system of tones is founded; the tonic.
2.
the main idea or central principle of a speech, program, thought, action, etc.
3.
the policy line to be followed, as by a party in a political campaign, that is set forth authoritatively in advance by an address or other formal announcement.
verb (used with object), keynoted, keynoting.
5.
to announce the policy of (a political party, campaign, assembly, etc.); deliver a keynote address at:
The governor will keynote the convention.
6.
to serve as the keynote for.
7.
Music. to give the keynote of.
verb (used without object), keynoted, keynoting.
8.
to provide a keynote, especially a keynote address:
He refused an invitation to keynote.
Origin
1755-1765
1755-65; key1 + note
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for key-note

keynote

/ˈkiːˌnəʊt/
noun
1.
  1. a central or determining principle in a speech, literary work, etc
  2. (as modifier): a keynote speech
2.
the note upon which a scale or key is based; tonic
verb (transitive)
3.
to deliver a keynote address to (a political convention, etc)
4.
to outline (political issues, policy, etc) in or as in a keynote address
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for key-note

keynote

n.

also key-note, "lowest note of a musical scale, basis of a scale," 1776, from key (n.1) in sense of "musical scale" + note (n.). Figurative sense of "leading idea" is from 1783; keynote address is 1905, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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