Definition of halftone in English:



  • 1A reproduction of a photograph or other image in which the various tones of grey or colour are produced by variously sized dots of ink.

    [as modifier] ‘halftone illustrations’
    • ‘Don followed the Audubon Bird Guide series with about 100 half-tone illustrations for a popular book, Our Amazing Birds.’
    • ‘The monochrome half-tone process, introduced in 1872, was refined by the end of the 19th cent. to allow full colour reproduction.’
    • ‘Not until 1900, however, did half-tone photographic images become a regular feature of newspapers and magazines.’
    • ‘Moreover, the nature of newspapers had changed - full of half-tones and features, and covering these sensational stories more than ever before.’
    • ‘Many chapters have lovely half-tone illustrations of restored animals or landscapes, by the talented artist Mauricio Anton.’
    picture, drawing, sketch, figure, graphic
    View synonyms
  • 2North American Music
    A semitone.

    ‘two sounds that have only a halftone of difference between them’
    • ‘La cathédrale engloutie, apart from flummoxing interpreters in terms of correct pace and use of half-tones, is characterised by the artist's profound choice of tonal palette.’
    • ‘Moiseiwitsch's singing line and Kempff's half-tones are simply absent, while the inter-relation of tempi - ie the middle section of the second movement should be more relaxed than the march figure - needs more thought in preparation.’
    • ‘Like their contemporaries, the Prazak, they have a marvellous richness of response that adds drama to the long, unbroken lines - in 1918, the composer was under the influence of Brahms - and caressing half-tones to softer sections.’
    • ‘Now add into it, the principle of composition, in counterpoint, of so-called neighboring key, neighboring-key half-tone change.’
    • ‘Note when counting steps that there is a single half-tone between B and C, and E and F.’