mel·​o·​dy ˈme-lə-dē How to pronounce melody (audio)
plural melodies
: a sweet or agreeable succession or arrangement of sounds
whilst all the winds with melody are ringingP. B. Shelley
: 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 chanterPat Cahill
melodic adjective
melodically adverb

Example Sentences

He wrote a piece that includes some beautiful melodies. a composer known for his love of melody He sang a few old melodies.
Recent Examples on the Web Yet nothing is as operatic and ascending as Tina climbing Spector’s deceptively complex melody and its dense wall of sound. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 24 May 2023 The Smiths, Rourke is a driving force, carving the path Marr’s chords dance around in the ominous verses and then, as the song brightens during the chorus, teasing a portion of the sadder melody from earlier on, preparing listeners to be pulled back into the maelstrom of the next verse. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, 23 May 2023 The melody of the sharp, strongly briny fish plays flawlessly off of the counterpoint of the tangy rice. Lucas Kwan Peterson, Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2023 Here, in two and a half minutes, are the hallmarks of Converse’s style: gymnastic rhymes, sinuous melodies, a tone that’s both lovelorn and self-consoling. Jeremy Lybarger, The New Republic, 24 Apr. 2023 His performance innovations include a unique method of creating melodies on the tabla, originally regarded as a rhythmic instrument of accompaniment. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Apr. 2023 To gain a greater understanding of Bowie’s artistry while recording the song, Hinds abandoned his usual approach to executing melody and syncopation. Patricia Meschino, Billboard, 20 Apr. 2023 Popular street band Cordao de Bola Preta provided the soundtrack for the night, with melodies built around pounding drums and glitzy saxophones. Nerisha Penrose, ELLE, 24 Mar. 2023 Forever All the Right Notes is a romance with the irresistible melody of a Broadway hit. Ew Staff,, 10 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'melody.' 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 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

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near melody

Cite this Entry

“Melody.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


mel·​o·​dy ˈmel-əd-ē How to pronounce melody (audio)
plural melodies
: a pleasing succession of sounds
: a series of musical tones arranged to give a pleasing effect
: the leading part in a musical composition involving harmony

More from Merriam-Webster on melody

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