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What is the meaning of "On that note" and how do you use it? Does it mean "while we are talking about the same subject?"

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4 Answers 4

It's a metaphor from music that typically comes at the end of a speech and means in that way or in that spirit. The speaker will say something amusing, profound or sombre and then say And on that note, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to end my address to you tonight.

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In a comedic/sarcastic manner it can be used to indicate the unpleasantness of something said or done and the need to move on to another, less unpleasant subject.

For instance, three men are socializing at the bar. Man 1: "You know, I was thinking of wearing assless chaps to the party next week." Man 2: "And, on that note..."

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Your assumption about it's meaning is largely correct. It typically is used to transition from one subject to another subject on the same topic.

It's meaning can also be expanded to include associated emotions or feelings. This can be seen in similar expressions like: "On a happier note" or "On a sad note."

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Yes, I agree it can be used in that way too. –  Barrie England Oct 7 '11 at 19:26
I think perhaps sometimes people do use it when they mean in the context of that [just said], or leading on from that, but it sounds a bit "sloppy" to me. @Barrie's usage seems more natural, and properly reflects the metaphor itself. –  FumbleFingers Oct 8 '11 at 0:47
I upvoted this one and downvoted the other one. Sorry Barrie. I think Christopher's answer is more correct, in that Barrie's answer is a specific use case, rather than a general rule. "On that note" is more often used to transition between two (or more) similar ideas or topics. Definitely +1 for throwing in the phrase's emotive usages. The musical metaphor is another usage--just less frequently used. –  narx Oct 8 '11 at 4:37
Isn't the metaphor always musical? –  Barrie England Oct 8 '11 at 6:50

I asked the original question. "And on that note" sounds musical. I recognize that it is a metaphor, but do we not have the origin of the phrase. It seems the original meaning has been lost. Betty

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