mel·​low | \ ˈme-(ˌ)lō \

Definition of mellow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a of a fruit : tender and sweet because of ripeness
b of a wine : well aged and pleasingly mild
2a : made gentle by age or experience She was a tough and demanding teacher, but she became mellow in her old age.
b : rich and full but free from garishness or stridency the mellow tones of an old violin
c : warmed and relaxed by or as if by liquor After a few drinks we felt pretty mellow.
d : pleasant, agreeable He was in a mellow mood.
e : laid-back mellow background music
3 of soil : having a soft and loamy consistency


mellowed; mellowing; mellows

Definition of mellow (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to become mellow often used with out

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from mellow


mellowly adverb
mellowness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for mellow

Synonyms: Adjective

euphonious, lyric, lyrical, mellifluent, mellifluous, melodic, melodious, musical

Antonyms: Adjective


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of mellow in a Sentence


The painting captures the mellow light of a summer evening. This wine is very mellow. He was in a mellow mood. She was a tough and demanding teacher, but she became mellower in her old age. He's a very mellow guy. After a couple of drinks we all started feeling pretty mellow.


She was a tough and demanding teacher, but she has mellowed in her old age. The wine needs time to mellow. She was a tough and demanding teacher, but old age has mellowed her.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The melody is accompanied by a mellow drum beat and R&B crooner Jaheim’s velvety voice. Marcus Harrison Green, The Seattle Times, "Grandparents raising grandkids say they need more help from Washington state," 28 Dec. 2018 Musk, who did most of the talking, was mellow and jokey and spent a longer-than-usual time answering questions after his initial presentation. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Ars takes a first tour of the length of The Boring Company’s test tunnel," 19 Dec. 2018 The bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch, who created the role of Ennis in Madrid, sings with mellow sound and affecting vulnerability. New York Times, "Review: ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ the Opera, Falls Short of Its Potential," 1 June 2018 To succeed, The Good Cop needs to get out of the mellow middle lane Michele K Short/Netflix Some of the jokes on the show are genuinely funny. Karen Han, Vox, "Josh Groban and Tony Danza’s appealing odd-couple dynamic can’t quite save The Good Cop," 21 Sep. 2018 Samsung says the barrage is an attempt to help Note users figure out their powerful new device, and the pop-ups mellow out eventually. David Pierce, WSJ, "Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 Is Crazy Powerful. Can You Handle It?," 19 Aug. 2018 For a more mellow dose of nature, pack a picnic to watch a Green Show performance during the summer, or walk along the trails in Lithia Park. Ella Riley-adams, Vogue, "Why This Oregon Town Could Be the Next Napa," 8 Aug. 2018 Mallory, unlike Jordan, is a laid back, mellow young man. Susan Miller Degnan, miamiherald, "What you might not know about new TE Will Mallory and his connection to two UM greats | Miami Herald," 20 May 2018 True to his mellow demeanor, Gerard wasn’t convinced himself. Rachel Axon, USA TODAY, "Red Gerard wins gold in snowboard slopestyle, first U.S. medal at Winter Olympics," 11 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Traditional wine presses sometimes crush the grape seeds along with the grapes, releasing a bitter flavor that mellows during the aging process. Aleksandra Crapanzano, WSJ, "The Winery That Fits in a Closet," 12 Oct. 2018 Missy Robbins, the chef of Lilia in Brooklyn, makes a pesto of two parts parsley, one part marjoram, to mellow the marjoram’s assertive fragrance. Aleksandra Crapanzano, WSJ, "6 Fresh Takes on Pesto," 3 Aug. 2018 Available in the United States, its casks are famously carried aboard ships that cross the Equator twice before it is sold, to mellow the spirit. Jason Wilson, New York Times, "Jump-Starting the Aquavit Renaissance," 13 Mar. 2018 Just as her late idol Bowie's extreme transformations eventually mellowed out over time, so, too, have Gaga’s. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Lady Gaga's Beauty Evolution: From Mother Monster to A Star Is Born," 10 Sep. 2018 But these are also young wines, and the more ambitious among them will benefit from aging five to 10 years to allow these complexities to uncoil while mellowing the rippling acidity. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "2016 Dry German Rieslings: Graceful, Resonant, Delicious," 3 May 2018 His nature is like wine of a good vintage: time cannot sour, but only mellows him. New York Times, "Letters to the Editor," 15 June 2018 Hellion has lived in Belgium for more than a decade now, but the fromage hasn’t mellowed him much. Monica Kendrick, Chicago Reader, "Hardcore icons Integrity bring their blackened aggression to Chicago," 29 Mar. 2018 The earthiness of beets is mellowed out by the ricotta, which is a nice bit of recipe balancing magic. Alex Beggs, Bon Appetit, "1 Easy Hummus Recipe, 5 Ways to Mess with It," 19 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mellow.' 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 mellow


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1575, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for mellow

Adjective and Verb

Middle English melowe

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mellow

Statistics for mellow

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mellow

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mellow



English Language Learners Definition of mellow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: pleasantly rich, full, or soft : not harsh, bright, or irritating

: having a pleasing rich flavor that develops over time

: very calm and relaxed



English Language Learners Definition of mellow (Entry 2 of 2)

: to become or to cause (someone or something) to become less harsh, irritating, nervous, etc.


mel·​low | \ ˈme-lō \

Kids Definition of mellow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : fully ripe or mature a mellow peach
2 : made mild by age
3 : being clear, full, and pure : not harsh a mellow sound a mellow color
4 : very calm and relaxed After dinner, we began to feel mellow.

Other Words from mellow

mellowness noun


mellowed; mellowing

Kids Definition of mellow (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make or become mild or relaxed especially over time

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on mellow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mellow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mellow

Spanish Central: Translation of mellow

Nglish: Translation of mellow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mellow for Arabic Speakers

Comments on mellow

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


important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!