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Etymology 1[edit]

With irregular t- (as in tausend) and widespread dialectal -ā--ō- from Middle High German dāhen, tāhen, inflected form of dāhe, tāhe, from Old High German thāha, dāha, tāha, from Proto-Germanic *þanhǭ. Cognate with Old English þō, Old Norse þá, Gothic 𐌸𐌰𐌷𐍉 (þāhō).

The oldest spelling is Toh(e)n, which then became Thon as part of a general habit of writing -th- in the vicinity of long vowels. During the spelling reforms of the early 20th century, all th-spellings in inherited words were reduced to -t-, thereby making Ton one of the very few words in which Proto-Germanic -h- is not reflected (compare the same in Träne).

Alternative forms[edit]


Ton m (strong, genitive Tones or Tons, plural Tone)

  1. clay
    Synonyms: Lehm, (rare) Klei
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Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle High German tōn, from Latin tonus, from Ancient Greek τόνος (tónos).


Ton m (strong, genitive Tones or Tons, plural Töne)

  1. tone
    • 1929, Kurt Tucholsky, Das Lächeln der Mona Lisa (Sammelband), Ernst Rowohlt Verlag, page 43:
      Eine der unangenehmsten Peinlichkeiten in deutschen Gerichtssälen ist die Überheblichkeit der Vorsitzenden im Ton den Angeklagten gegenüber.
      One of the most unpleasant embarrassments in German court rooms is the hubris of the presiding judges in the tone towards the defendants.
  2. (music) note (a musical pitch or sound)
  3. tone (manner of speaking)
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  • Kluge, Friedrich (1975). Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache. 21. unveränderte Auflage. →ISBN. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 781–82.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ton” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache
  • Ton” in Uni Leipzig: Wortschatz-Lexikon
  • Ton” in Duden online

Pennsylvania German[edit]


Compare German Ton.


Ton m (plural Teen)

  1. sound
  2. tone