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

Her rendition is slow and meandering, with lilts that lift the melody and then drop it again into quietness. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "What two fictional Gileads can teach us about America in 2018," 12 July 2018 And melodies that lent themselves to my roots, which include a brief stint in a gospel choir. Timothy Finn, kansascity, "Bishop Briggs on her leap from karaoke to Coldplay, 'American Idol' and her own tour | The Kansas City Star," 9 May 2018 The gadget then plays special melodies and says phrases per point scored. Marlisse Cepeda, Woman's Day, "Mom Finds Marijuana In Toddler's Easter Gift," 7 Apr. 2015 Immediately, everyone is transported to a different world, mesmerized by the melody and lyrics of the song. Maija Liuhto, Longreads, "A Music So Beautiful the Birds Fell from the Trees," 28 June 2018 But content that most interested Murray was rhetorical, allowing him to unearth ideas and undercurrents that were always there but somewhat disguised by the melodies they were attached to. David Patrick Stearns,, "Bill Murray's odd variety show gets a big Philly ovation," 5 Apr. 2018 Rapping punctuated by Indian-flavored melodies and tabla drumming. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Review: Globalfest’s World Music for a Connected World," 15 Jan. 2018 An original melody from Ilene Poses to the SRC to commemorate their last meeting., "6,019 days after the SRC first convened, a final meeting," 21 June 2018 Signature vibrato guitar melodies, lyrics both sentimental and comedic, his outlandish personality and various antics have allowed Mac to continue to stand out among the crowd. Efrain Dorado, RedEye Chicago, "Get your act together: 10 must-see artists at Lollapalooza," 31 July 2017

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

7 Oct 2018

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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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