mel·​o·​dy | \ ˈme-lə-dē \
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 \ adjective
melodically \ -​di-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Synonyms for melody


air, lay, song, strain, tune, warble

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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

In 2016, researchers at Sony used software called Flow Machines to create a melody in the style of The Beatles. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "How AI-generated music is changing the way hits are made," 31 Aug. 2018 An event at Valparaiso’s Memorial Opera House will offer insight on how melodies are made. Bob Kostanczuk, Post-Tribune, "South Shore Orchestra seeks to educate with 'Peter and the Wolf' performance," 7 May 2018 Dombroski’s growling melody joining in, Paluzzi supplying the high harmonies of the chorus. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Sponge gears up for Detroit reunion: 'No combination like this five'," 3 May 2018 The genre has a rich history of romantic melodies paired with powerful lyrics about falling in and out of love. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "The 50 Best Country Love Songs We Could Listen to Forever and Ever, Amen," 6 Nov. 2018 Late on a Thursday night in a faraway corner of Old Kabul, a community of musicians and worshippers gathers for an evening of solemn prayer, ecstatic singing, and melodies from days long forgotten. Maija Liuhto, Longreads, "A Music So Beautiful the Birds Fell from the Trees," 28 June 2018 Its engine is a four-on-the-floor dance rhythm and hummable dun-dahhhhhhhhhhhhh melody. William Goodman, Billboard, "Bjork's 'Debut': An Art-Pop Masterpiece Turns 25," 5 July 2018 Rhythm and melody surpass the borders between language and culture. Ita Tsai,, "How the fusion of Latin rhythms seek to unite genres and cultures," 22 June 2018 Her now famously powerful pipes soared through the somber melody. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Carrie Underwood's 'American Idol' Audition Is Even Better Than We Remembered," 28 Oct. 2018

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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Statistics for melody

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for melody

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

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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 \
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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Comments on melody

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


a complex dispute or argument

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