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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Church, taking to his guitar, began with a calm, more straight-forward opening melody, joined later by Sullivan's crisp belt and ornamental vocal runs. Nick Romano,, "Watch Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church meld genres on National Anthem duet at the Super Bowl," 8 Feb. 2021 Goree captures the familiar rasp and melody of the voice, and also the champion’s wit and exuberance. New York Times, "One Night in Miami," 14 Jan. 2021 Our real love was a real song, with a real melody and words that mean something. Jon Bream And Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Bee Gees fever: Barry Gibb explains why he's gone country but won't watch the acclaimed documentary," 9 Jan. 2021 For my money, the greatest, most enduring Christmas classic is one that best utilizes melody and lyrics to meld regret with hope: a belief that optimism, even in the face of anguish, can carry us to better days. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: What the greatest Christmas song can teach us this year," 23 Dec. 2020 Lovely lyrics, beautiful melody and something different. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "Holiday playlist: 5 local musicians share favorite festive tunes," 22 Dec. 2020 Rodgers’s great gift for melody and his solid musicianship. WSJ, "Excerpts From Edwin Wilson’s ‘Magic Time’," 17 Dec. 2020 Presumably under Harrison’s watchful eye, Dee added Harrison-like melody and alluring extensions in the violin part. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, "Lou Harrison’s generosity endures when we most need it," 2 Dec. 2020 Written by a teenager, the symphony sounds nonetheless like mature Mendelssohn, with all the bountiful melody, rhythmic sophistication, and intricate layering of voices that implies. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Cleveland Orchestra covers Baroque, Christmas bases with spirited fourth ‘In Focus’ episode," 12 Dec. 2020

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

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Melody.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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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 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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