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

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 melodies.
Recent Examples on the Web Once this note has been determined, further adjustment is made to find the melody most closely resembling Breguet’s signature sound. Carol Besler, Robb Report, 1 Sep. 2023 Here, Velez’s poppy melodies and gentle slant rhymes usually serve a second function, crystallizing the themes in quickly recognizable and memorable gestures, as the harsh economy of musicals requires. Jesse Green, New York Times, 31 Aug. 2023 Bird enthusiasts already use apps to snatch melodies out of the air and identify which species is singing. Camille Bromley, WIRED, 29 Aug. 2023 The limber melodies of this concerto, its stunning lightness and the golden thread of Thibaudet’s gentle lines stitching the whole thing together seemed devoutly in service of pleasure. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 25 Aug. 2023 Produced by the group’s Jorge Mejía and Rodolfo Lugo, Becerra starts off showcasing her powerhouse vocals, backed by soft accordion and guitar melodies, before transitioning into an infectious cumbia sonidera and cumbia villera fusion. Jessica Roiz, Billboard, 18 Aug. 2023 Once the sound enters the brain, neurons shoot up across different parts to decode each lyric, melody and rhythm. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2023 But unmistakable elements of the song’s rhythm, melody and harmony shine through. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Aug. 2023 Its plodding melody is a key component to Roger Waters’ prosody—the vocal variations like intonation, stress, rhythm, and accent that make human speech sound… well, human. Andrew Paul, Popular Science, 16 Aug. 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 27 Sep. 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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