Why was clemency trending last week?


[kee-noht] /ˈkiˌnoʊt/
Music. the note or tone on which a key or system of tones is founded; the tonic.
the main idea or central principle of a speech, program, thought, action, etc.
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.
to announce the policy of (a political party, campaign, assembly, etc.); deliver a keynote address at:
The governor will keynote the convention.
to serve as the keynote for.
Music. to give the keynote of.
verb (used without object), keynoted, keynoting.
to provide a keynote, especially a keynote address:
He refused an invitation to keynote.
Origin of keynote
1755-65; key1 + note Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for keynote
  • Its keynote evidently is the ignorance of the immigrants.
  • He was the keynote speaker at the party's convention four years ago.
  • Beyond his academic work, he is a writer and keynote speaker.
  • King's address, the last one that day, was not billed as the keynote speech.
  • The decline of the keynote address at a big technology trade show illustrates the story of an industry.
  • As others have stated, this is not a huge problem as long as you were not the keynote speaker withdrawing at the last minute.
  • Good keynote speeches at conferences can make me swoon.
  • His theory will become the keynote of a new era of economic policymaking.
British Dictionary definitions for keynote


  1. a central or determining principle in a speech, literary work, etc
  2. (as modifier): a keynote speech
the note upon which a scale or key is based; tonic
verb (transitive)
to deliver a keynote address to (a political convention, etc)
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 keynote

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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