Definition of tune in English:



  • 1A melody, especially one which characterizes a certain piece of music.

    ‘she left the theatre humming a cheerful tune’
    • ‘This one abounds with marvelous music, and familiar tunes brought to life by mostly classically-trained voices.’
    • ‘The poem is set to the music of the British tune, To Anacreon in Heaven.’
    • ‘If I had to suggest a downside to the Patio, it would have to be the choice of tunes masquerading as background music.’
    • ‘I started to hum a tune along with the music I was playing.’
    • ‘Jayachandran dismisses the allegation that some of the music composers lift the tune from old songs.’
    • ‘Full of sparking little tunes, these pieces are huge fun and they contribute greatly to the magical sound world of this disc.’
    • ‘For the fanfares and songs, the music director used tunes from Byrd's Battle and other programmatic courtly pieces.’
    • ‘He was singing softly at the tune of the melody too.’
    • ‘After churning out some of Bollywood's most melodious tunes, music directors and partners Jatin-Lalit are all set to go.’
    • ‘Their programme will include Irish tunes and slow airs, some Scottish tunes and Yiddish folk music!’
    • ‘His tunes for the melodious music of Baiju Bawra and Mother India still hold listeners spellbound.’
    • ‘Those interested need not worry about knowing the tunes as sheet music will be provided on the night.’
    • ‘Today, the folks sway to the tunes of Hindustani classical music.’
    • ‘She was singing a little song that she had made up from the tune of the music box her mother had given her.’
    • ‘The music was some catchy tunes by Richard Rodgers that my friend and I were humming incessantly!’
    • ‘She begins to hum the tune of the music, weeping, as the Artist strides away.’
    • ‘They performed a variety of music from simple tunes to Beethoven and from classical to jazz.’
    • ‘Schuman's scoring cannot change the music or the basic tune.’
    • ‘The characters walked around the place shaking hands and interacting with kids as they gently danced with them to the tunes at the background music.’
    • ‘Ella and I danced of course, to both upbeat, lively tunes and slow melodies.’
    melody, air, strain
    song, number, jingle, ditty
    theme, motif
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal A piece of popular music.
      ‘DJ Samantha provided the tunes’
      ‘their 1995 hit has been resurrected into a modern-day classic dance tune’
      • ‘The dance floor spins pop tunes for the masses.’
      • ‘I try to warm up the car by cranking the tunes.’
      • ‘At least they're not blasting their tunes in the car loud enough to bother those around them.’
      • ‘The club will have a band playing your favourite tunes, mouth-watering food, and fantasy cocktails.’
      • ‘While hanging in the barn, don't forget to spin some country tunes.’
      • ‘There were a bunch of losers there, but they were cranking some pretty good tunes, so I thought, I can hang for a while.’
      • ‘They played my favorite tune.’
      • ‘The DJ played some funky tunes, and I had a great night.’
      • ‘Instead of driving down Main Street on a Friday night blasting the latest tunes with friends, these kids stay busy in neon-lit arcades and shops.’
      • ‘The smooth, hour-long journey along the highway with tunes blaring was exhilarating but strangely relaxing.’


  • 1Adjust (a musical instrument) to the correct or uniform pitch.

    ‘he tuned the harp for me’
    [no object] ‘we could hear the band tuning up’
    • ‘Now this isn't the only way to tune musical instruments.’
    • ‘Virginia was tuning her guitar to the keyboard at which Susan had seated herself.’
    • ‘Finally a string broke with a noise that sounded like a badly tuned guitar.’
    • ‘Viggo was completely engrossed with tuning his guitar.’
    • ‘When I got there, Tyler was sitting behind the drums, Nick was tuning his guitar, and Josh was pulling double duty with the bass and singing.’
    • ‘Who would expect a Swiss army knife to be capable of tuning a piano?’
    • ‘He tuned the piano for us the first day he arrived-he had perfect pitch.’
    • ‘Pretty soon, the group are providing a perfectly rhythmic and tuned percussion backing.’
    • ‘Frank and Joseph were tuning their respective guitars, while Alistair was fiddling with a screw on his drum set.’
    • ‘One of them was tuning a bass guitar, listening to the laughter around him.’
    • ‘I never could decide if he tuned the guitars a half-step lower to get that sound, or if my turntable was set too fast.’
    • ‘Advertisements for a piano tuning school pictured a woman tuning an upright piano.’
    • ‘The club was a cacophony of down tuned guitars, slap bass and the drummer's double kick.’
    • ‘She has as much chance of fixing it as a gorilla has of tuning a violin.’
    • ‘I did have one of those moments in the violin concerto when I wondered whether the violin was tuned sharp, or whether it was written that way, or whether I was being Ms Cloth Ears.’
    • ‘Keiko stared at the doorway as Kakeru tuned his new violin.’
    • ‘She stood and tuned her violin for a few moments, and then opened the music to the Tchaikovsky concerto.’
    • ‘It will take money to tune the pianos, but that is far less than what it would cost to purchase a new piano.’
    • ‘The MC's announcement and the sound of Rory tuning his guitar before the opening song, ‘Cradle Rock’, gives an atmospheric intro to the album.’
    • ‘No one tunes a piano with a hammer, but I sometimes see racers take a sledgehammer approach to tuning engines.’
  • 2Adjust (a receiver circuit such as a radio or television) to the frequency of the required signal.

    ‘the radio was tuned to the BBC’
    • ‘Inside mission control a television is tuned to a public celebration.’
    • ‘Investigators found the radio tuned to the wrong VOR frequency.’
    • ‘All we could here was the radio which was tuned to 99.9.’
    • ‘My first memories of listening to the John Peel show was in bed, under the covers, with my little transistor radio tuned to BBC Radio 1 in 1977.’
    • ‘All the televisions were tuned to the Weather Channel and workers buttressed the hotel's smoked-glass windows with sheets of plywood.’
    • ‘She kept a small transistor radio tuned to a lite-rock station, the only sound besides the humming of the drink cases.’
    • ‘This Radio is tuned to ‘inspirational’ easy listening and that's all we get.’
    • ‘A receiver tuned to this frequency is used to track the path of the line.’
    • ‘Anywhere in the crowd it was possible to tune a transistor radio to a translation in the language of your choice.’
    • ‘The radio had been tuned to some sort of country station that I had never heard of before.’
    • ‘The radio is tuned to KOTR, known Locally as the Otter.’
    • ‘Each output port includes optical receivers which are tuned to the same fixed wavelength which is specific to the output port.’
    • ‘The radio was already tuned to WABC, the dial set there on my ride home from work where Sean Hannity usually keeps me entertained.’
    • ‘He hears a beep from his radio, which is tuned to the LAPD band.’
    • ‘Some radio telescopes can be tuned to this frequency, but some simply can't.’
    • ‘My car radio is permanently tuned to Heart 106.2 and Magic.’
    • ‘My radio was tuned to NPR, my primary source of news since I didn't have a TV at the time.’
    • ‘My car radio was constantly tuned to 96 Rock in those days.’
    • ‘One radio was tuned to the tanker-control frequency and the other radio directly to the tanker.’
    • ‘I was still tuned to Radio Scotland as I drove along the M9.’
    1. 2.1[no object]Watch or listen to a television or radio broadcast.
      ‘tune in next week and find out!’
      • ‘Millions of fans will be tuning in to watch the match on television.’
      • ‘With the introduction of a new Asian family in Eastenders I decided to tune in and watch what the new clan had to offer.’
      • ‘You and I have our own tastes in music, and we tune in to whatever radio station suits us.’
      • ‘About 7.9 million people tuned in to watch the boat race last year.’
      • ‘In the days before the widespread use of video, millions tuned in to watch.’
      • ‘First of all this week, I want to apologise on behalf of T4 for those of you who tuned in to watch Pop Beach Party last Sunday.’
      • ‘There is another television, tuned in to the showjumping at Hickstead.’
      • ‘Listeners are also tuning in to Radio Lincolnshire for around 13.5 hours each week.’
      • ‘Those on the Celtic bus tuned in to listen to Rangers playing Aberdeen.’
      • ‘Many old-timers remember the romance of tuning in to the radio shows.’
      • ‘Louise ruefully confessed she rarely tunes in to watch television these days.’
      • ‘Many hundreds of millions of people around the planet are expected to tune in to watch the announcement.’
      • ‘My brother is a priest in Zimbabwe and we would be interested to know how both he and I can tune in to the broadcasts.’
      • ‘Millions of television viewers tuned in as the couple exchanged their vows live on GMTV on September 3.’
      • ‘Every Sunday, millions tune in to watch the instalment of what is essentially a novel take on reality TV.’
      • ‘I tuned in just to watch the top ten count down,.’
      • ‘Amir's father Shah was astonished to hear millions of people back home had tuned in to watch his son fight.’
      • ‘Listeners can also tune in to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire who will broadcast from many of the buildings on the day.’
      • ‘Some 14 million viewers tuned in to watch the final.’
      • ‘Listeners to BBC Radio Lincolnshire are tuning in for 17 hours and 30 minutes each week.’
    2. 2.2Exclude a sound or transmission of a particular frequency.
      ‘certain tones would be muted or tuned out entirely’
      • ‘Brooke tuned their conversation out, her thoughts focusing on Duncan.’
      • ‘Wes tuned it out, he had not stopped crying since he ended his eulogy.’
      • ‘I found the music to be very inspiring but after a while, I just tuned it out as I'd heard it so much before.’
      • ‘But ordinary people might tune politics out, so they just can't resist prodding and stimulating us with those symbolic things.’
      • ‘If I didn't like something, I simply tuned it out.’
      • ‘I tuned it out and turned back to Eva, who was looking impatiently at her watch.’
      • ‘Brooke tuned the voice out at that point.’
      • ‘She began to yell at Ryan for some trivial thing, and he tuned it out as he held his daughter on his lap.’
      • ‘‘People have become so habituated to the seat belt warning, they just sort of tune it out,’ explains Howell.’
      • ‘There's such an overload of environmental messages that people are tuning it out.’
  • 3Adjust (an engine) or balance (mechanical parts) so that a vehicle runs smoothly and efficiently.

    ‘the suspension was tuned for a softer ride’
    • ‘I had spent months, when I was younger, tuning that engine.’
    • ‘It is nowhere near as big and threatening as top-end SUVs and, thanks to suspension tuned for tarmac rather than mud, rides quite well on the road.’
    • ‘The suspension is tuned for a balance between comfort and handling and is OK by me for everyday motoring.’
    • ‘The fully independent suspension has been tuned with performance in mind.’
    • ‘Before tuning the engine, you must use a fuel injector additive to improve injection.’
    • ‘The sound of a well tuned engine was heard by all.’
    • ‘This gives people the chance to slow down to hear how beautifully your cousin Alberto has tuned your engine.’
    • ‘GM's High Performance Vehicle Operations tuned the suspension and upgraded the brakes of the SS.’
    • ‘The company's acoustic boffins tuned the engine to introduce a throatier sounding note, so the all enveloping deep bass throb rising to spine tingling wail exists.’
    • ‘Schumacher still loves race karts and he can sometimes still be found at the track tuning the engines, mucking in.’
    • ‘The suspension has been specifically tuned with emphasis on ride comfort.’
    • ‘What a difference in performance when your body, like your vehicle, is finely tuned and ‘adjusted’.’
    • ‘Only a perfectly tuned engine can turn in the fuel consumption figures ratified for a vehicle by the Government.’
    • ‘No one tunes a piano with a hammer, but I sometimes see racers take a sledgehammer approach to tuning engines.’
    • ‘If you show me a dad who thinks he's a great car mechanic, I will show you a badly tuned engine.’
    • ‘The engines we were using were tuned for reliability, not speed.’
    • ‘The diesel mechanics had worked indoors prior to 1988, during which time diesel engines were run indoors during servicing and tuning.’
    • ‘The instructions for tuning the motor seem to be off a different car entirely.’
    • ‘The body is considerably more rigid which enhances safety and suspension tuning.’
    • ‘Clark says any poorly tuned engine can pollute.’
  • 4Adjust or adapt (something) to a particular purpose or situation.

    ‘the animals are finely tuned to life in the desert’
    • ‘Our own internal pacemaker tunes our mental and physical energy levels more or less to the cycles of sunlight.’
    • ‘Bone is a structure finely tuned to its mechanical environment.’
    attune, adapt, adjust, fine-tune
    View synonyms
  • 5South African informal [with two objects] Tell (something) to (someone)

    ‘he starts tuning you stories about his youth’


  • call the tune

  • change one's tune

    • see change
      change one's mind, think differently, express a different opinion, express a different view, sing a different song, sing a different tune, shift one's ground, do a u-turn, row back, march to the beat of a different drum, have a change of heart
      View synonyms
    • Express a very different opinion or behave in a very different way.

      ‘he'd soon change his tune if he thought she'd lost interest’
      • ‘But when it comes to his own back yard he changes his tune.’
      • ‘But when they saw him play, they changed their tune and were impressed with his rapid development in Scotland.’
      • ‘My parents always seemed to be understanding people but recently they have changed their tune and want to know what I am doing and where I am going all the time.’
      • ‘I surprise myself in saying this, but what is so wrong with a woman changing her tune according to the man in her life?’
      • ‘Within a couple of hours, however, they had changed their tune in the wake of negative feedback and agreed to discuss the situation further.’
      • ‘Given the growing popularity of your mix CD, have record companies since changed their tune?’
      • ‘Let's buy him some earplugs, and see if he changes his tune…’
      • ‘I'm sure he changes his tune once he's stuck behind a desk encouraging his clients to sign on the dotted line.’
      • ‘Until I see a difference, I'm not changing my tune.’
      • ‘He also accuses environmentalists, who were happy last year when the task force report came out, of changing their tune and saying the city needs a new garbage strategy.’
      change one's mind, think differently, express a different opinion, express a different view, sing a different song, sing a different tune, shift one's ground, do a u-turn, row back, march to the beat of a different drum, have a change of heart
      do an about-turn
      View synonyms
  • in (or out of) tune

    • 1With correct (or incorrect) pitch or intonation.

      ‘they couldn't sing a note in tune’
      • ‘Central is a grand piano which was apparently always out of tune in Tchaikovsky's day.’
      • ‘Worshippers are encouraged to be careful about diction, stay in tune, sing exact note values, and avoid forcing the sound.’
      • ‘Her voice melodic and in tune, she sang it softly.’
      • ‘Petts Wood Methodist Men's Group is getting in tune for a sing song.’
      • ‘Each forthcoming note must be heard as a complete entity, in tune, with all musical parameters in place.’
      • ‘How can you tell when a violist is playing out of tune?’
      • ‘Both groups sang very much in tune, but unlike, say, certain more modern groups, intonation never excited you by itself.’
      • ‘The out of tune orchestra Elgar leads is so painfully unaware of their playing that this is an extremely unpleasant recording.’
      • ‘These discs have a refreshingly homemade quality that is in tune with the music that they contain; they are professional but hardly slick.’
      • ‘Its musicians are in tune with Morricone's music.’
      1. 1.1(of a motor engine or other machine) properly (or poorly) adjusted.
        • ‘The downsides were a serious thirst for fuel when one put the foot down and the twin choke Dellorto carburettors being difficult to keep in tune.’
        • ‘When your car's engine is badly worn or out of tune, the tailpipe emissions of such noxious by-products as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and particulate matter are greatly increased.’
        • ‘Exploiting the carburetor's consistency achieves little if the engine is out of tune.’
        • ‘Keeping your engine in tune is also a gas-saver.’
        • ‘Did you know that by keeping your car's engine in tune you would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5-15%?’
      2. 1.2In (or not in) agreement or harmony.
        ‘he was out of tune with conventional belief’
        • ‘The mass signing is intended to show the Executive that it is out of tune with ‘ordinary Scots’ right across the country.’
        • ‘The urban radio stations talking about ‘peace in the streets ‘are out of tune with reality.’’
        • ‘‘It is clearly discriminatory and clearly out of tune with the times,’ he said.’
        • ‘It just seemed to us that the politicians - all of them, in all the different parties - are out of tune with how ordinary people feel about this.’
        • ‘Soccer's most famous musicians, who bang the drums at Sheffield Wednesday games, stand accused of being out of tune with their own supporters.’
        • ‘Martin Dunne: ‘Central policy makers are totally out of tune with the views of the people around the country.’’
        • ‘But isn't it a little out of tune with the campaign Dean's been running?’
        • ‘You know, John says that he is out of tune with the American people.’
        • ‘We have laws in place which are clearly out of tune with the views of the majority of the population.’
        • ‘An attitude of arrogance and the kind of insufferable self-confidence of that Cardinal is very much out of tune with the Church and its mission.’
        in accord, in keeping, in accordance, in agreement, in harmony, harmonious, in step, in line, in sympathy
        in disagreement, at odds, at variance, out of step, not in harmony, at outs, out of kilter
        View synonyms
  • there's many a good tune played on an old fiddle

    • proverb Someone's abilities do not depend on their being young.

      • ‘Now, I know there's many a good tune played on an old fiddle and all that, but not if the strings are that slack.’
  • to the tune of

    • informal Amounting to or involving (a specified considerable sum)

      ‘he was in debt to the tune of forty thousand pounds’
      • ‘That means she has been compensated to the tune of €83,000 for each of the months she was in charge.’
      • ‘The other main area of overspending is children's disability services, to the tune of 250,000.’
      • ‘Three businesses in South Lakeland have received grants to the tune of £3,000.’
      • ‘Thompson has had to pay some in advance, a commitment that has set him back to the tune of nearly £30,000.’
      • ‘This means the state is defrauded nationally to the tune of £2 billion each year.’
      • ‘During the first two months of the financial year the trust has already overspent to the tune of £208,000.’
      • ‘Last week the news broke that even chewing gum was to be taxed to the tune of 15 cent a packet.’
      • ‘In his view, the the private sector will benefit to the tune of 600 million leva.’
      • ‘The move is expected to boost the state coffers to the tune of £33.6 million next year.’
      • ‘The report also shows the Cathedral is in the black to the tune of £113,000.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • be tuned in

    • Be sensitive to or able to understand something.

      ‘it's important to be tuned in to your child's needs’
      • ‘In true Mediterranean spirit, the production is tuned in to the vibrancy of life itself.’
      • ‘She is tuned in to a powerful domain of secrets and souls that just might trump the logic of the material world.’
      • ‘It is a politics of listening, responding, engaging, trading; of being tuned in with others.’
      • ‘If the new carer is tuned in to your child's needs, your child should settle quickly into a new routine.’
      • ‘The cable industry is tuned in to the complaints about indecency.’
  • tune into

    • Become sensitive to.

      ‘you must tune into the needs of loved ones’
  • tune out

    • Stop listening or paying attention.

      ‘if you're in a boring lecture you can tune out’
      • ‘She tuned out their conversation and paid attention to the food in front of her.’
      • ‘Maybe we were loud, I tended to tune out whatever background noise was going on and just listen to the people.’
      • ‘They start tuning out and completely miss the message.’
      • ‘Prudence tried to tune out their angry voices, instead listening to the sound of her own heartbeat.’
      • ‘This was what classes were to be like, how teachers should be like; not bad to look at, easy to listen to, and easier to tune out from.’
      • ‘University campuses have become so cartoonishly left-wing that many students are essentially just tuning out their professors.’
      • ‘The problem is that it's just this kind of attitude that makes it less likely your grades will improve; by tuning out, you'll only make it more likely that you won't do as well as you should next time.’
      • ‘The key now is to tune out the ‘white noise’ and stop fighting.’
      • ‘Natalie tuned out the lecture and took to watching her teacher warily.’
      • ‘This was a year where advertisers were very worried about the death of the 30-second spot because people were tuning out of television.’


Late Middle English: unexplained alteration of tone. The verb is first recorded (late 15th century) in the sense ‘celebrate in music, sing’.