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

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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


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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 But the tornadic beats, devious melodies, and feral sound effects certainly evoke some cataclysm that, from the sound of it, might at least be aesthetically neat. The Atlantic, "A Pop-Culture Time Capsule of the 2010s," 31 Dec. 2019 But hair metal had camp and glam, peculiar elements of androgyny for such an allegedly testosterone-centric style, and lots of hooks and melody, too. John Adamian,, "Hair metal band Ratt reunion coming to College Street," 6 Dec. 2019 His final words and melodies live on in the 12 final tracks on the album, and all have been given rave reviews by critics. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Is Ariana Grande Dueting With Mac Miller On His New Album?," 17 Jan. 2020 Johnson and the lead singer from one of his LA bands are working on putting lyrics to four songs Johnson created guitar melodies for. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Uptown Phoenix is getting a new rock ’n’ roll-inspired cocktail bar. Here's what to expect," 9 Jan. 2020 The Grammy winner, who grew up in the Bronx, plays music rooted in Celtic melody but mixes in world music as well. Donna Freedman, Anchorage Daily News, "There’s a great slate of music, theater and storytelling coming to entertain us until summer," 2 Jan. 2020 His immoral role is confirmed by his musical lines; often quickly rising and falling in dissonant melodies. Amy Lorette Damron Kyle, Quartz, "The feminist reboot opera deserves," 20 Dec. 2019 Sandwiched between displays of explosive power and raw virtuosity, this chromatic, twisted melody forever collapsing on itself delivered a slow but potent emotional punch. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Cleveland Orchestra inspires gratitude with performances after Thanksgiving," 2 Dec. 2019 The organization of melodies around a hierarchical chord structure—tonality—appears as a common attribute across all cultures included in the database. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "What Makes a Song? It’s the Same Recipe in Every Culture," 21 Nov. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for melody

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for melody

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Melody.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for melody


How to pronounce melody (audio)

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

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