one-note

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

An allusion to the monotony of a single musical note played or sung repeatedly.

Adjective[edit]

one-note (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) Having only one opinion, outlook, tone, etc., especially as expressed repetitively; without variety or range.
    • 1971, Michael Sragow, "Theatre: Look Back in Anger Tonight at the Loeb Ex," Harvard Crimson, 13 March (retrieved July 25, 2009):
      But Pope Brock plays him in such a one-note key of gulping and spitting and snickering cynicism that the spectacle becomes numbing.
    • 1992, Jane Creighton, "Bierce, Fuentes, and the Critique of Reading," South Central Review, vol. 9, no. 2, p. 66:
      The footnotes that attend Ambrose Bierce in the U.S. literary canon roughly place him as a minor writer of grotesque supernatural tales and trenchant war stories, a misanthrope, curmudgeon, a purveyor of stringing sarcasms, a one-note wit.
    • 2005, Anahid Kassabian, "Academic Frostbite (A Cautionary Tale)," Women's Studies Quarterly, vol. 33, no. 3/4, p. 403:
      To his mind, there was only one right and true position on the question. This sort of one-note response is precisely the problem facing politically engaged academics in the U.S. at the moment.
    • 2009, Mary Pols, "Year One: Jokes from the Stone Age," Time, 18 June:
      The movie is one long snigger. . . . It might be one-note, but at least it's in the key of funny.

Synonyms[edit]