Atonic – Definition & Meaning

Atonic is a term that is used in various fields such as linguistics, medicine, and music. It is a word that has different meanings depending on the context it is used in. In this article, we will explore the various definitions and meanings of atonic.


In linguistics, atonic refers to a syllable or word that is not stressed or accented. In medicine, atonic refers to a condition where there is a loss of muscle tone, which can result in weakness or flaccidity. In music, atonic refers to a musical composition that lacks a tonal center or key.


The word atonic has its roots in the Greek language. The word “a-” means “not” or “without,” while “tonos” means “tension.” Therefore, atonic essentially means “without tension.”

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, atonic means “lacking normal tone or strength.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines atonic as “not having a tone or accent; unstressed.” The Collins dictionary defines atonic as “relating to or characterized by a lack of muscular tone.”


In linguistics, atonic syllables or words are often associated with unstressed or weak syllables. In medicine, atonic conditions are associated with muscle weakness and flaccidity. In music, atonic compositions are associated with a lack of tonal center or key.


Some synonyms of atonic include weak, flaccid, limp, toneless, and unstressed.


Some antonyms of atonic include strong, tense, accented, stressed, and tonal.

The same root words

The same root words as atonic include tonus, tonicity, and tonal.

Example Sentences

  • In linguistics, atonic syllables are usually not emphasized in speech.
  • Patients with atonic conditions may experience muscle weakness and flaccidity.
  • The atonic composition lacked a tonal center or key.
  • The doctor noted that the patient had atonic reflexes.
  • The atonic melody lacked a clear tonal structure.
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