Definition of keynote in English:



  • 1A prevailing tone or central theme, typically one set or introduced at the start of a conference.

    ‘individuality is the keynote of the Nineties’
    [as modifier] ‘he delivered the keynote address at the launch’
    • ‘With a new band, spontaneity will be the keynote.’
    • ‘The keynote for the tone of the series was a credible representation of the lives of its three central characters.’
    • ‘The seminar will include keynote lectures and technical papers, a discussion section, and short-term courses.’
    • ‘Individuality, as everywhere in the castle, is the keynote.’
    • ‘The eight keynote presentations were enthusiastically received by the more than 600 conference delegates.’
    • ‘She is a successful, nationally recognized conference keynote speaker and entertainer.’
    • ‘The keynote of the meeting was outrage rather than compassion.’
    • ‘This is the keynote, leading to a prolonged examination of how writers have used narrative technique in order to provide aspects of what we guess about consciousness.’
    • ‘He is likely to make economic regeneration and social inclusion keynotes of his tenure.’
    • ‘More than that, though, it has laid a marker for a style of game which has innovation, pace and persistence as its keynotes.’
    • ‘The buzz of menace the incident initially transmits, though, sounds a keynote.’
    • ‘It has that lick of elegance that is the keynote of New Zealand red, the sort of wine that stands proudly on the table and always tastes of ‘more please’.’
    • ‘He was attending an event in Hong Kong where he delivered a keynote speech.’
    • ‘Many times I have experienced ringing cell phones in the middle of my keynote presentations.’
    • ‘Curiously, for a politician who made much of the fact that what happened in the rest of the world was not always Washington's concern, diplomacy has been the keynote of his first months in office.’
    • ‘Education, health, freedom from crime and improvements to the places where children live are keynotes for the organisation.’
    • ‘That pitch might have been better made against a track record of unimpeachable integrity, where promises had been kept, failure openly acknowledged, and honesty had been the keynote of his government.’
    • ‘An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 participated in the demonstration while the prime minister was delivering his annual keynote economic speech.’
    • ‘There were keynote addresses, and smaller seminars and workshops.’
    • ‘The actual content of his speech was pretty close to zero, but that's fine for a convention keynote.’
    theme, salient point, point, gist, substance, burden, tenor, heart of the matter, pith, marrow, topic, policy line
    essence, heart, core, basis, essential element, essential feature, defining characteristic, centre, kernel, nucleus
    View synonyms
  • 2Music
    The note on which a key is based.

    • ‘All three forms have in common the flattened third scale degree, producing a characteristic minor 3rd with the keynote.’
    • ‘The candidate will hum or sing and afterwards name the interval of the second, third, fourth or fifth of the major scale as played by the examiner, in succession to the keynote.’
    • ‘In every type of musical scale, the notes progress in a series of intervals from a keynote to the octave above or below.’
    • ‘They also should be able to sing the keynote of a tonal pattern or song presented by the teacher.’
    • ‘Studies of tonality have shown that listeners agree on the keynote of a musical excerpt and that the listeners in turn agree with the composer.’