euphony

noun

eu·​pho·​ny ˈyü-fə-nē How to pronounce euphony (audio)
plural euphonies
1
: pleasing or sweet sound
especially : the acoustic effect produced by words so formed or combined as to please the ear
2
: a harmonious succession of words having a pleasing sound
euphonic adjective
euphonically adverb

Did you know?

Euphony was borrowed from French at the beginning of the 17th century; the French word (euphonie) derives from the Late Latin euphonia, which in turn traces back to the Greek adjective euphōnos, meaning "sweet-voiced" or "musical." Euphōnos was formed by combining the prefix eu- ("good") and phōnē ("voice"). In addition to its more commonly recognized senses, euphony also has a more specific meaning in the field of linguistics, where it can refer to the preference for words that are easy to pronounce. This preference may be the cause of an observed trend of people altering the pronunciation of certain words—apparently in favor of sound combinations that are more fluid and simpler to say out loud.

Examples of euphony in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lunch Block Between the blasts that day, Cranston, a city of about 80,000, embodied the euphony of a New England autumn: leaves tumbling across driveways, basketballs drumming the pavement of cul-de-sacs; engines humming in a Dunkin’ drive-through line. Emily Baumgaertner, New York Times, 20 Dec. 2023 Bassiouni’s approach is informed by the aesthetic values of Islamic art, such as the importance ascribed to geometry, and the notion of euphony with regard to the poetics of the Quran. M. Z. Adnan, The New Yorker, 27 Feb. 2023 In more recent ones, Harris has expanded the scope of her ambient sound to include brushes of folk, the suspension of drone music, and the euphony and tunefulness of pop. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, 26 Oct. 2021 For all the euphony and alliteration of the phrase, winter white is more of a squirrel-meat gray. Dan Neil, WSJ, 7 Feb. 2020 The combination of Freddy Cole’s reedy voice and Lionel Cole’s chesty baritone made for a most appealing euphony, accompanied by Freddy Cole’s silvery pianism, Randy Napoleon’s buoyant guitar work and a chugging backbeat from the rest of the band. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, 30 Aug. 2019 Both the music and the film footage conveyed a sense of lyricism, rhythmic relaxation, peace and euphony. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, 30 June 2019 Intersections in the Washington area do not seem to be ranked officially for euphony or the way the names of the individual streets sound when they are linked together. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2018 Commercials for one of the biggest brands, Bolla, played regularly on radio and television, and the euphony of the phrase was as catchy as Orson Welles declaring that Paul Masson would sell no wine before its time. Eric Asimov, New York Times, 5 Oct. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'euphony.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Late Latin euphōnia, borrowed from Greek euphōnía "good voice quality (of a public speaker), good tone (of horns)," from eúphōnos "pleasant-sounding, musical" (from eu- eu- + -phōnos "having a sound [of the kind specified]," adjective derivative of phōnḗ "sound made by something living, voice, speech") + -ia -ia entry 1 — more at phono-

First Known Use

1606, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of euphony was in 1606

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Dictionary Entries Near euphony

Cite this Entry

“Euphony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/euphony. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

euphony

noun
eu·​pho·​ny ˈyü-fə-nē How to pronounce euphony (audio)
plural euphonies
: pleasing or sweet sound
especially : the pleasant sound of words combined together
euphonious
yu̇-ˈfō-nē-əs
adjective
Etymology

from French euphonie "pleasing sound," from Latin euphonia (same meaning), derived from Greek eu- "good" and Greek phōnē "voice, sound" — related to phonetic, symphony

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