mel·​lif·​lu·​ous me-ˈli-flə-wəs How to pronounce mellifluous (audio)
: having a smooth rich flow
a mellifluous voice
: filled with something (such as honey) that sweetens
mellifluous confections
mellifluously adverb
mellifluousness noun

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Use Mellifluous to Describe Your Dinner Date

Have a bee in your bonnet to learn some mellifluous facts? Sweet—we won’t make you comb for them. Mellifluous comes from two Latin roots: the noun mel, meaning “honey,” and the verb fluere, meaning “to flow.” These linguistic components flowed smoothly together into the Late Latin word mellifluus, then continued on into the Middle English word mellyfluous, before crystallizing into the adjective we employ today. As it has for centuries, mellifluous typically and figuratively describes sound, and is often at the tip of the tongues of writers who proclaim that a voice or melody is smooth like molasses (molasses, like mellifluous, is a descendant of the Latin mel). But mellifluous can also be used to describe edibles and potables, such as wine, with a pronounced note of sweetness.

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 Especially unique is the sewing-machine-smooth cadence of an early 4.0-liter Lamborghini V-12, breathing through a sextet of Weber 40s and expressing its mellifluous voice through a steel Ansa exhaust system. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 15 May 2024 Then there's Keith David, who would later join the show's cast in season 6 but made his Community debut here with mellifluous narration. Chancellor Agard,, 6 Mar. 2024 Her mellifluous sound, spanning two octaves, is part Snow White communing with the birds, part haunted theremin. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2024 The mellifluous sounds of te reo Māori, the language, have become all but commonplace over the country’s airwaves, in its classrooms and even in official government briefings. Natasha Frost, New York Times, 16 Dec. 2023 Sayani, known for his mellifluous voice, initially worked as an English-language presenter for All India Radio (AIR) in Bombay, as Mumbai was known then, thanks to his brother Hamid who was a broadcaster there. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 21 Feb. 2024 The chatter mostly unfolds, in mellifluous French, over white tablecloths and stainless steel countertops, with no PowerPoints or government office furniture in sight. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 29 Nov. 2023 These speakers, which are pretty dismissive of low-power tube amps, didn’t miss a beat, and in fact, produced more mellifluous and engaging sound—more warmth and micro-detail—than when driven by the 100-watt solid-state amp that regularly powers them. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 18 June 2023 Stories of one magnanimous soul’s power to sow seeds of light and grace that germinate and create a mellifluous echo across time and place. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, 17 Oct. 2023

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near mellifluous

Cite this Entry

“Mellifluous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


mel·​lif·​lu·​ous me-ˈlif-lə-wəs How to pronounce mellifluous (audio)
: smoothly flowing
mellifluous speech
mellifluously adverb
mellifluousness noun

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