Phil·​o·​me·​la ˌfi-lə-ˈmē-lə How to pronounce Philomela (audio)
: an Athenian princess in Greek mythology raped and deprived of her tongue by her brother-in-law Tereus, avenged by the killing of his son, and changed into a nightingale while fleeing from him

Word History


Latin, from Greek Philomēlē

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Philomela was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near Philomela

Cite this Entry

“Philomela.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on Philomela

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!