mel·​lif·​lu·​ous | \ me-ˈli-flə-wəs How to pronounce mellifluous (audio) , mə- \

Definition of mellifluous

1 : having a smooth rich flow a mellifluous voice
2 : filled with something (such as honey) that sweetens mellifluous confections

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Other Words from mellifluous

mellifluously adverb
mellifluousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for mellifluous



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Use Mellifluous to Describe Your Dinner Date

In Latin, mel means "honey" and fluere means "to flow." Those two linguistic components flow smoothly together in mellifluus (from Late Latin) and mellyfluous (from Middle English), the ancestors of mellifluous. The adjective these days typically applies to sound, as it has for centuries. In 1671, for example, Milton wrote in Paradise Regained of the "Wisest of men; from whose mouth issu'd forth Mellifluous streams." But mellifluous can also be used of flavor, as when wine critic Eric Asimov used it to describe pinot grigio in the book Wine With Food: "Most pinot grigios give many people exactly what they want: a mellifluous, easy-to-pronounce wine that can be ordered without fear of embarrassment and that is at the least cold, refreshing, and for the most part cheap."

Examples of mellifluous in a Sentence

a rich, mellifluous voice that gets her a lot of work in radio and TV commercials
Recent Examples on the Web Throughout, Parton’s music and mellifluous speaking voice make for the best, most joyful listening experience of the year. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, "The Best Podcasts of 2019," 21 Dec. 2019 The golden crust yields to a mellifluous semi-solid interior, the octopus perfectly suspended within., "Gantetsu-Ya elevates Japanese street food in Brookline - The Boston Globe," 5 Dec. 2019 The group includes the warblers, canaries, larks and other mellifluous singers but also the strident (to human ears, anyway) crows and their kin. Kate Wong, Scientific American, "Solving the Mystery of Songbird Diversity," 1 Nov. 2019 In its more restrained passages, Alex Heffes' score adds significant emotionality to the proceedings, as does the mellifluous narration by Ejiofor that provides a soothing counterpoint to even the more upsetting moments. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Elephant Queen': Film Review," 16 Oct. 2019 The stories were later re-edited to delete such antediluvian tropes, but in the process they were made shorter as well; much of Wirt Benson’s mellifluous prose tumbled to the cutting-room floor. Michael Callahan, Marie Claire, "The Timely Return of Nancy Drew," 9 Oct. 2019 In a calm but mellifluous voice, the court’s president, Lady Hale, sporting a glittering spider brooch, read out a damning judgment against Mr Johnson. The Economist, "The Supreme Court puts more obstacles before Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan," 26 Sep. 2019 From the main stage, an Azeri folk band rendered mellifluous praise to Allah; they were followed by dancers from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and throat singers from several remote Russian republics. Jacob Mikanowski, Harper's magazine, "The Call of the Drums," 21 July 2019 And Edwin Edwards married a pocketknife wit to a mellifluous accent redolent of the French-speaking countryside, a combination that earned him four terms in office but could not keep him out of federal prison. Richard Fausset, New York Times, "In Louisiana, Messaging During Storms Carries Big Political Weight," 15 July 2019

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

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First Known Use of mellifluous

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mellifluous

Middle English mellyfluous, from Late Latin mellifluus, from Latin mell-, mel honey + fluere to flow; akin to Goth milith honey, Greek melit-, meli

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The first known use of mellifluous was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

31 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Mellifluous.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for mellifluous


How to pronounce mellifluous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mellifluous

formal : having a smooth, flowing sound

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Nglish: Translation of mellifluous for Spanish Speakers

Comments on mellifluous

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


not to be intimidated or subdued

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