mel·​a·​no·​ma | \ ˌme-lə-ˈnō-mə \
plural melanomas also melanomata\ -​mə-​tə \

Definition of melanoma

1 : a tumor containing dark pigment
2 : a highly malignant tumor that starts in melanocytes of normal skin or moles and metastasizes rapidly and widely

Examples of melanoma in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

If your melanoma has spread, you’ll be referred to an oncologist for treatment. Korin Miller, SELF, "Former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres Has Melanoma That Spread From a Spot She 'Never Paid Attention To'," 6 Feb. 2019 As Mott50 founder Anne Reilly explains, that’s where her aunt, a fair blonde, first developed a deadly melanoma; Reilly’s mother is also now battling that same form of skin cancer. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "This Fashion-Royalty Daughter Just Launched the Most Stylish Sun-Protective Swimwear," 24 Oct. 2018 According to Medical News Today, acral lentiginous melanoma doesn't appear to be caused by sun exposure. Gabrielle Sorto, Teen Vogue, "This Woman Had Her Thumb Amputated Because of Cancer Reportedly Caused By Biting Her Nails," 7 Sep. 2018 Scientists have discovered a potential reason why melanoma doesn’t always respond to certain drugs. Megan Thielking, STAT, "Scientists pinpoint a possible reason why melanoma doesn’t respond to cancer drugs," 12 Apr. 2018 Men are at higher risk for developing prostate cancer, male breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and melanoma. Amy Dockser Marcus, WSJ, "The Genetic Test Some Men Don’t Know They Need," 7 Aug. 2018 Using indoor tanning beds before age 35 can increase your risk for melanoma by over 50 percent. Elizabeth Siegel, Allure, "Why Skin Cancer Is the Most Common Type of Cancer — and Why Women Are More Likely to Contract It," 21 Mar. 2018 The drug has shown promise in melanoma patients being treated with cutting-edge therapies to bolster their immune system. Jonathan Saltzman,, "Lexington biotech wins approval for a drug everyone hopes is never needed," 6 June 2018 But then the companies enrolled another 15 melanoma patients, and the response rate dropped. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, "A controversial ASCO presentation underscores risk Bristol, Nektar carry with experimental cancer drug," 3 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'melanoma.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of melanoma

1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for melanoma

New Latin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about melanoma

Statistics for melanoma

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for melanoma

The first known use of melanoma was in 1838

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for melanoma



English Language Learners Definition of melanoma

medical : a type of cancer or tumor that begins as a dark spot or area on the skin


mel·​a·​no·​ma | \ ˌmel-ə-ˈnō-mə \
plural melanomas also melanomata\ -​mət-​ə \

Medical Definition of melanoma

1 : a benign or malignant skin tumor containing dark pigment
2 : a tumor of high malignancy that starts in melanocytes of normal skin or moles and metastasizes rapidly and widely

called also malignant melanoma, melanocarcinoma, melanoepithelioma, melanosarcoma

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on melanoma

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with melanoma

Spanish Central: Translation of melanoma

Nglish: Translation of melanoma for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of melanoma for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about melanoma

Comments on melanoma

What made you want to look up melanoma? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


very full or close together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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