Definition of off-key in English:

off-key

adjective & adverb

  • 1(of music or singing) not having the correct tone or pitch; out of tune.

    • ‘But we sang along anyway, and there were no off-key notes or minor chords, not even from Mama, who quite simply could not carry a tune.’
    • ‘He wouldn't go to sleep and I'd just go from one song to the next in this flat, off-key voice.’
    • ‘Once every candle burned brightly, an off-key chorus began to sing ‘Happy Birthday.’’
    • ‘Does he see how I look down my nose at the enthusiastic choir member who sings off-key?’
    • ‘We don't see that playing out of tune or singing off-key is revolutionary.’
    • ‘It is like hearing lovely melodies sung off-key.’
    • ‘The off-key singing of the congregations at Church and the reels and jigs of the Connecticut fiddle players enchanted him.’
    • ‘Why are the gospel tunes in the soundtrack so annoyingly off-key and out of synch?’
    • ‘A chorus of giggles promptly followed the off-key ditty.’
    • ‘Then suddenly, in a slightly hoarse and off-key voice, he sang the lullaby that Mom used to sing to me.’
    • ‘It was kind of neat to see four women all lined up singing, but the off-key harmonizing didn't grab me.’
    • ‘With that he turned up the radio to an old eighties rock song, and we started our off-key duet in very loud voices.’
    • ‘Add off-key electronic music, and you begin to have some idea of how annoying this is.’
    • ‘A few stand watching a brave soul with a karaoke machine belt out an off-key tune.’
    • ‘He multi-tracks the vocals on this song and the off-key harmonics of his offbeat voice work brilliantly.’
    • ‘The brass band plays off-key.’
    • ‘They know what mood I am in from the music that I play on the radio and the off-key, wrong lyrics that I belt out.’
    • ‘She bade me goodnight and walked away, swaying only slightly, and humming an off-key tune under her breath.’
    • ‘He had on his headset and sang along in his off-key fashion.’
    • ‘If the background music was distinctly off-key, so too were far too many aspects of the meal.’
    out of tune, flat, tuneless, unmusical, unmelodic, discordant, dissonant, unharmonious
    out of tune, flat, tuneless, unmusical, unmelodic, discordant, dissonant, unharmonious
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    1. 1.1 Not in accordance with what is appropriate or correct in the circumstances.
      [as adverb] ‘some of the cinematic effects are distractingly off-key’
      • ‘She croaks, squeaks, howls, and whines her way through the role, nearly always off-key and most horrid.’
      • ‘The actor's performance is horridly off-key - his screaming antics would be more appropriate for a cartoon villain.’
      • ‘This bill is off-key, out of tune, and even if the Labour Government flatly denies it, its shrill crescendos of fortissimo make no difference to the fact that it is prescribing State control.’
      incongruous, inappropriate, unsuitable, discordant, out of place, out of keeping, jarring, dissonant, inharmonious
      incongruous, inappropriate, unsuitable, discordant, out of place, out of keeping, jarring, dissonant, inharmonious
      View synonyms

Pronunciation:

off-key

/ˈɔf ˈˌki/