Etymology
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tonal (adj.)

1776; from tone (n.) in the musical sense + -al (1), or from Medieval Latin tonalis.

updated on February 12, 2014

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Definitions of tonal from WordNet

tonal (adj.)
employing variations in pitch to distinguish meanings of otherwise similar words;
Chinese is a tonal language
Synonyms: tonic
tonal (adj.)
having tonality; i.e. tones and chords organized in relation to one tone such as a keynote or tonic;
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.