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 melody (audio) \ adjective
melodically \ mə-​ˈlä-​di-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce melody (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.
Recent Examples on the Web An attempt to lift his hand would coincide with one neural melody, for example, while trying to move his hand to the right would correspond to another. New York Times, 12 May 2022 Originally released 53 years ago and first recorded by the singer Judy Collins, the monumental song with its ruminative lyrics and unforgettable melody, is perhaps one of Joni Mitchell’s most well known. Rob Ledonne, Billboard, 2 Apr. 2022 Enjoy the magic that takes place when a group of strangers mesh around the rhythm and melody of a familiar tune. Rick Henderson, The Week, 29 Mar. 2022 Savage: These ones have different lyrics but almost the same melody. Karen Hopkin, Scientific American, 3 Mar. 2022 Humberstone has a lovely and versatile voice and a remarkably effortless way with a melody. Jem Aswad, Variety, 11 Nov. 2021 The melody is reminiscent of Seventies and Eighties soft rock, adding to the list of genres that Big Bang has experimented with. Kristine Kwak, Rolling Stone, 4 Apr. 2022 But what matters is getting [into] the bed with the melody. Yasmine Shemesh, Billboard, 22 Mar. 2022 And then the third thing was … in this song’s case, because of the interpolation of score and everything, melody was paramount to us. Chris Willman, Variety, 3 Mar. 2022 See More

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

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

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Melody.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for melody


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

More from Merriam-Webster on melody

Nglish: Translation of melody for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of melody for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about melody


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