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

Other Words from melody

melodic \ mə-​ˈlä-​dik How to pronounce melody (audio) \ adjective
melodically \ mə-​ˈlä-​di-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce melody (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 The nervy, danceable rhythm of Joy Division’s original recording is nowhere to be found here — instead, Kiah re-creates the classic bass guitar melody as part of her acoustic guitar accompaniment. Jon Freeman, Rolling Stone, 14 Jan. 2022 That was her riffing on the first scratch track of the melody line. Marianne Garvey, CNN, 31 Dec. 2021 That was her riffing on the first scratch track of the melody line. Alejandra Gularte, Vulture, 30 Dec. 2021 It was released as the lead single of the Nigerian singer-songwriter’s debut album 19 & Dangerous, but took on a life of its own as listeners were drawn in by an alluring violin melody that drops into contagious Afropop magic. Jem Aswad, Variety, 4 Jan. 2022 Otherwise, there was a surprising reliance on a blocky, chord-plus-melody handling of the material for a piece that purports to be about texture. Elizabeth Nonemaker,, 15 Nov. 2021 Ray Garcia, a graduate of Florida State University and veteran of the Marching Chiefs, the school’s marching band, noted the song’s melody as a standout of the actual UCF football experience. Spencer Valdez,, 23 Dec. 2021 Unlike the sweet twinkle of bells from Rockefeller Memorial Chapel across the university quad, the music played by the UC Guild of Change Ringers simply avoids music, never mind melody. Christopher Borrelli,, 23 Dec. 2021 Pasquale Laurino conducts the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra in Tchaikovsky's score, which sounds like a greatest-hits album, with one beloved melody following another. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 Dec. 2021

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

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Melody.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for melody



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

More from Merriam-Webster on melody

Nglish: Translation of melody for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of melody for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about melody


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