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

Monk’s compositions opened up new ways of handling turns, stamping unlikely melodies into the listener’s mind with insistence and artistry. John Adamian,, "T.S. Monk Sextet To Perform At Wesleyan," 21 Apr. 2018 Call it shadow-folk: Michigan band Lord Huron make the type of folk music that sounds perfect in a candlelit room, all dark melodies and mesmerizing meditations. Justin Jacobs, Indianapolis Star, "‘Eva’ premiere, Brett Eldredge show among top things to do in Indianapolis this April," 4 Apr. 2018 With such deeply rooted connections, the theme of the program truly celebrates both men, whose modern compositions embraced melody unlike other composers of their time, Tovey said. Lawrence Elizabeth Knox, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Symphony explores the music of Leonard Bernstein," 28 Mar. 2018 Earlier announcements included melodies from Mariah Carey and Garth Brooks. Sheila Vilvens,, "'White death, all over the place,' singing principal announces a snow day Vanilla Ice style," 2 Feb. 2018 Grande interpolates the melody in her verses with a saucy attitude. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The True Story Behind Ariana Grande's New Hit, "7 Rings"," 18 Jan. 2019 The first is a surreal toad’s giant head, for instance, and the melody of a swamp at night can be heard chirruping in the background. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Gnog Review: Short and sweet puzzle unboxing," 12 Aug. 2018 Local Afghan musicians followed course and moved to this area to learn traditional Indian ragas from the foreigners, letting their own Afghan folk tunes mix with the melodies of the subcontinent. Maija Liuhto, Longreads, "A Music So Beautiful the Birds Fell from the Trees," 28 June 2018 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

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

11 Feb 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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