Tenor

tenor

1. A state of holding on in a continuous course; manner of continuity; constant mode; general tendency; course; career. Along the cool sequestered vale of life They kept the noiseless tenor of their away. (gray)

2. That course of thought which holds on through a discourse; the general drift or course of thought; purport; intent; meaning; understanding. When it [the bond] is paid according to the tenor. (Shak) Does not the whole tenor of the divine law positively require humility and meekness to all men? (Spart)

3. Stamp; character; nature. This success would look like chance, if it were perpetual, and always of the same tenor. (Dryden)

4. An exact copy of a writing, set forth in the words and figures of it. It differs from purport, which is only the substance or general import of the instrument.

5. [F. Tenor, L. Tenor, properly, a holding; so called because the tenor was the voice which took and held the principal part, the plain song, air, or tune, to which the other voices supplied a harmony above and below: cf. It. Tenore.

The higher of the two kinds of voices usually belonging to adult males; hence, the part in the harmony adapted to this voice; the second of the four parts in the scale of sounds, reckoning from the base, and originally the air, to which the other parts were auxillary. A person who sings the tenor, or the instrument that play it. Old]] Tenor, new Tenor, middle Tenor, different descriptions of paper money, issued at different periods, by the American colonial governments in the last century.

Origin: L, from tenere to hold; hence, properly, a holding on in a continued course: cf. F. Teneur. See Tenable, and cf. Tenor a kind of voice.

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