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

The Tossers’ high-energy Irish melodies will be featured (6 p.m. Sunday) at the Square Roots Festival in Lincoln Square this weekend. Savannah Eadens,, "Americana means good beer, good music at Square Roots Festival," 12 July 2018 John Glass bowed his head as the cantor’s melody echoed through the cemetery in prayer for the children buried beneath the grassy-green surface. Emanuella Grinberg, Smithsonian, "When a Bavarian Monastery Provided a Home to Jewish Refugees," 11 July 2018 The best music sounds like the notes and melody were cosmically preordained and The Natural theme sounds like it was written when the game of baseball was being born. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "The 10 best songs about baseball," 6 July 2018 Not that just any melody heard with PlayStation in hand will make the orchestra’s playlist. Matthew J. Palm,, "Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra launches season," 5 July 2018 That’s continually a problem on EVERYTHING IS LOVE, which chases emotion but does not spend a lot of time on melody., "Beyoncé Pulled Another Beyoncé With EVERYTHING IS LOVE, But Should You Listen?," 18 June 2018 Okay Kaya, offers softly sung lyrics that simultaneously skew sarcastic and soberingly real, set to saccharine bedroom-pop melodies largely produced in collaboration with her boyfriend Aaron Maine of Porches. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "This Rising Artist is Getting Startlingly Honest About Depression—One Album and Instagram at a Time," 13 June 2018 The quartet then launched into its own arrangement of Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos, called Vivaldi Gone Wild, incorporating both Jewish and Arab melodies. David Patrick Stearns,, "Philadelphia Orchestra's first day in Israel: 'Want to hear more?' asks Yannick," 3 June 2018 For example, Japanese train systems use calming melodies to signal departures instead of harsh buzzers, which studies have shown prevent injuries by keeping passengers from rushing. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "These Subtle Psychological Hacks Keep Japan's Trains Running Smoothly," 27 May 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

21 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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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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