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

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 The theme song has changed a number of times over the course of Outlander's four seasons But don't expect the melody to ever completely deviate from the original. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Outlander Theme Song Gets an American Makeover," 7 Oct. 2018 But some traditional melodies aren’t to be tampered with. Jack Wertheimer, WSJ, "Why Go to Synagogue Once a Year?," 6 Sep. 2018 The acoustic melody swelled into a classic dusty barroom slow-dancer. Erik Ernst, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Blake Shelton may have gone Hollywood, but he shows at Summerfest that he's still country," 6 July 2018 The same three chords, the same melodies that hearken back to the Clash, the same raw anger, the same looming loneliness. John Adamian,, "From Sam Hunt And Reba To U2 And King X: A Week Of Big-Name Concerts," 23 June 2018 The melody is no longer a farewell but a welcome mat to the ears to come inside. Mark Swed,, "A festival's final concert brings the microtonal outsiders in," 17 June 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

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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