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

Keep scrolling for more

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


air, lay, song, strain, tune, warble

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

On Inner Monologue, Michaels continues to spin her brand of rock-forward, confessional melodies into pop gold. Marcus Jones,, "Inner Monologue Part 2," 30 June 2019 The song sounds deceptively simple with its catchy melody, but it's actually layered with echoes and atmospheric sounds. Courtney E. Smith,, "New Music To Know This Week: Caroline Polachek Paints A Masterpiece, Gold Child Rocks Us Gently & More," 24 June 2019 Its minor-key melody is heard everywhere at the mass demonstrations against Hong Kong’s controversial extradition bill and has become the movement’s anthem. Time, "A 1974 Hymn Called 'Sing Hallelujah to the Lord' Has Become the Anthem of the Hong Kong Protests," 20 June 2019 After a five-year break, the singer-songwriter returns with an album steeped in eerie electronic textures and dark melodies. Greg Kot,, "Greg Kot picks his top 10 albums of the year so far," 26 June 2019 And while his words still explode into melody like absolute truth, a new energy haunts the silences in between. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "Hearing a Michael Jackson song still feels good. Listening has become too painful.," 24 June 2019 Joe sang his songs while playing counterpoint melodies on the bass. Nell Zink, Harper's magazine, "Marmalade Sky," 24 June 2019 Grey seals can be trained to mimic human speech patterns and even song melodies, according to researchers at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Matt Mcnulty,, "Seals in Scotland Were Taught to Sing the Star Wars Theme — Watch," 21 June 2019 Friday, Diamond M Ranch, 48500 Diamond M Ranch Road,, Kenai Solstice Fest — Enjoy psychedelic melodies from Clinton Fearon and Deadphish Orchestra. Anchorage Daily News, "Here’s what’s going on for summer solstice in Anchorage and beyond," 20 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about melody

Statistics for melody

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for melody

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

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!