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[haf-tohn, hahf-] /ˈhæfˌtoʊn, ˈhɑf-/
Also called middle-tone. (in painting, drawing, graphics, photography, etc.) a value intermediate between light and dark.
  1. a process in which gradation of tone in an image is conveyed by first photographing the image through a screen to break up the continuous tones of the image into minute, closely spaced dots, then using the print obtained to produce a metal plate by photoengraving, and finally using the plate to reproduce the original image by letterpress or offset printing.
  2. the metal plate used in such a process.
  3. the print obtained in such a process.
    Compare line cut.
pertaining to, using, used in, or produced by the halftone process:
a halftone screen; a halftone print.
Origin of halftone
1645-55; half + tone Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for middle tone
Historical Examples
  • But they show how much can be expressed with the one tone, when variety is got by using the middle tone to paint into.

  • When you begin studying from the life, proceed in the same way with monochrome studies painted into a middle tone.

  • You then have a middle tone over the work, with the rough drawing showing through.

  • A fine print of a Holy Family, about 15×18 inches, has a middle tone of fair blue and a shadow tint of full rich green.

    Wood-Block Printing F. Morley Fletcher
British Dictionary definitions for middle tone


  1. a process used to reproduce an illustration by photographing it through a fine screen to break it up into dots
  2. the etched plate thus obtained
  3. the print obtained from such a plate
(art) a tonal value midway between highlight and dark shading
(music, US & Canadian) another word for semitone
relating to, used in, or made by halftone
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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