One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Originally and chiefly US informal. High-class, superior.
2Phonetics. Uttered at a high pitch.
1with object Chiefly US. To bring to a superior or more elevated state; to make high-toned.
2with object US informal. To treat in a superior or condescending manner. Now rare.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Epes Sargent (1813–1880). From high + tone<br>early 19th century; earliest use found in Harriet Lee (1757/8–1851), novelist and playwright. From high + tone.
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