What do a.m. and p.m. stand for?


[oh-ver-tohn] /ˈoʊ vərˌtoʊn/
Music. an acoustical frequency that is higher in frequency than the fundamental.
an additional, usually subsidiary and implicit meaning or quality:
an aesthetic theory with definite political overtones.
Origin of overtone
1865-70; translation of German Oberton. See over-, tone
2. insinuation, suggestion, intimation, hint. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for overtone
  • And he has drawn a symbolic parallel which has significant implication and overtone.
  • Harmonically, instruments are constrained by overtone reverberations and a fixed scale.
  • The middle note comes from much higher in the overtone series.
  • There was an ugly overtone to the events today that was not present yesterday.
  • The fact that these sections are tapered so greatly changes the acoustics of the so-called cylindrical overtone series.
  • Frequency estimated from an overtone or a combination tone indicated in the parentheses.
  • The soft pulp is juicy and sweet, although it can sometimes has an acid overtone.
  • Covers the region of overtone vibrations and has many applications, including biological and medical imaging.
British Dictionary definitions for overtone


(often pl) additional meaning or nuance: overtones of despair
(music, acoustics) any of the tones, with the exception of the fundamental, that constitute a musical sound and contribute to its quality, each having a frequency that is a multiple of the fundamental frequency See also harmonic (sense 7), partial (sense 6)
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for overtone

1867, in literal sense, from over + tone (n.); a loan-translation of German Oberton, first used by German physicist Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821-1894) as a contraction of Overpartialton "upper partial tone." Figurative sense of "subtle implication" is from 1890, first attested in writings of William James.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
overtone in Science
See under harmonic.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for overtone

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for overtone

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with overtone