mel·​o·​dy | \ ˈme-lə-dē How to pronounce melody (audio) \
plural melodies

Definition of melody

1 : a sweet or agreeable succession or arrangement of sounds whilst all the winds with melody are ringing— P. B. Shelley
2 : a rhythmic succession of single tones organized as an aesthetic whole a hummable melody the piper's fingers play the melody on a pipe called a chanter— Pat Cahill

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Other Words from melody

melodic \ mə-​ˈlä-​dik How to pronounce melodic (audio) \ adjective
melodically \ mə-​ˈlä-​di-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce melodically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for melody


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Examples of melody in a Sentence

He wrote a piece that includes some beautiful melodies. a composer known for his love of melody He sang a few old-fashioned melodies.
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Recent Examples on the Web Dunbar's smooth vocals, laid over an ethereal melody and driving beat, makes this anthem of longing worth more than one listen. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "First Out: New Music From Isaac Dunbar, Tayla Parx, Girl in Red & More," 20 Nov. 2020 But the melody and Bono’s vocals bring an overpowering beauty to the forefront. cleveland, "100 greatest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame songs of the 1980s," 12 Aug. 2020 The second song, for instance, is a traditional lullaby sung by Sephardic Jews, its melody one of arresting appeal and purity. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, "Can music bring us unity? How Osvaldo Golijov’s ‘Ayre’ is what we need now," 4 Nov. 2020 The Serenade opens with the unaccompanied soloist’s free-range rumination — hardly a melody, not even an obvious theme. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Engaging Bernstein, earthbound Mozart from Fort Worth Symphony and guest conductor Brett Mitchell," 31 Oct. 2020 Guitar riffs and solos were critical, but melody was just as important. Keith Spera,, "Eddie Van Halen was a once-in-a-lifetime rock guitarist who made the impossible look easy," 6 Oct. 2020 There are different ways to call on different animals, and, in some locations, each fäbod woman had their own signature melody so that everyone knew who was out in the forest. Jennie Tiderman-Österberg, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why Sweden’s Ancient Tradition of Calling Home the Herds Is Women’s Work," 28 Sep. 2020 Many of these come in Act 3, where Catherine's husband, Edgar, gets a Puccini-like aria lacking only in the Italian composer's killer instinct for a clinching melody. Terry Blain Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Minnesota Opera hits the 'Heights' once more," 26 Oct. 2020 The main element of the melody is a rising fifth, from F-sharp to C-sharp, over an orchestral drone of D and F-sharp. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Pushed to the Edge by “Beau Travail”," 20 Oct. 2020

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for melody

Middle English melodie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin melodia, from Greek melōidia chanting, music, from melos limb, musical phrase, song (probably akin to Breton mell joint) + aeidein to sing — more at ode

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Time Traveler for melody

Time Traveler

The first known use of melody was in the 13th century

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Statistics for melody

Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Melody.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for melody


How to pronounce melody (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of melody

: a pleasing series of musical notes that form the main part of a song or piece of music
: a song or tune


mel·​o·​dy | \ ˈme-lə-dē How to pronounce melody (audio) \
plural melodies

Kids Definition of melody

1 : pleasing arrangement of sounds
2 : a series of musical notes or tones arranged in a definite pattern of pitch and rhythm
3 : the main part in a musical composition

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