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[muh-not-n-uh s] /məˈnɒt n əs/
lacking in variety; tediously unvarying:
the monotonous flat scenery.
characterizing a sound continuing on one note.
having very little inflection; limited to a narrow pitch range.
Origin of monotonous
1770-80; < Late Greek monótonos. See mono-, tone, -ous
Related forms
monotonously, adverb
monotonousness, noun
unmonotonous, adjective
unmonotonously, adverb
Can be confused
monotonic, monotonous.
1. tedious, humdrum, boring, dull. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for monotonous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The hero may, of course, sometimes die; but not always; that would be too monotonous.

    Chaucer and His England G. G. Coulton
  • He climbed up to his old perch and resumed his monotonous whining: Wah!

    Johnny Bear E. T. Seton
  • The airs generally are plaintive and monotonous, and have a sad and weary sound.

    The Women of the Arabs Henry Harris Jessup
  • All other sounds were dominated by the monotonous shouts of the gondoliers.

    Casanova's Homecoming Arthur Schnitzler
  • We had no spur to enliven our thoughts in our monotonous life.

    On Commando Dietlof Van Warmelo
British Dictionary definitions for monotonous


dull and tedious, esp because of repetition
unvarying in pitch or cadence
Derived Forms
monotonously, adverb
monotonousness, noun
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 monotonous

1750, of sound, from Greek monotonos "of one tone" (see monotony). Transferred and figurative use, "lacking in variety, uninteresting," is from 1783. Related: Monotonously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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