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 The Kelsey Lu collab builds off a melancholy harpsichord melody, originally recorded by pianist Chilly Gonzalez on a spinet. Katie Bain, Billboard, "First Spin: The Week's Best New Dance Tracks From Baauer, Boys Noize, Sidepiece & More," 19 Mar. 2021 Sill arrived in sheer white pants and a knit shawl, gifted Disparti a vegetarian cookbook, and played a melody on guitar as her 18-year-old niece walked down the aisle. Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone, "The Many Lives of Judee Sill," 16 Mar. 2021 For the Vietnamese character Tiên Luu (Y. Lan), Blanchard wrote a mournful melody for duduk, an Armenian double reed woodwind, performed by Pedro Eustache. Tim Greiving, Los Angeles Times, "A tough year — and tough film themes — bring beauty by way of the music," 25 Jan. 2021 For some tracks, words come to my mind first while for others, a melody just hits my head. Jeff Benjamin, Forbes, "I.M’s ‘Duality’ Makes Good On His Promise As A Global Hip-Hop Artist: ‘I’m Satisfied’," 11 Mar. 2021 But that's before the sounds of helicopter blades and police sirens flow over an intoxicating and smooth synth melody. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "8 top Milwaukee songs and albums for March: Wave Chapelle, Immortal Girlfriend, North Breese and more," 1 Mar. 2021 The result is a buoyant melody emanating from the chapel’s 210-foot tower. Jonathan Drew,, "Man who played Duke Chapel bells for 50 years dies," 26 Feb. 2021 The result is a buoyant melody emanating from the chapel's 210-foot (64-meter) tower. Star Tribune, "Man who played Duke Chapel bells for 50 years dies," 25 Feb. 2021 There’s also the tricky negotiation of folding a lyric into a melody. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, "Bringing the outside in: How one songwriter finds creativity," 3 Feb. 2021

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

31 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Melody.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 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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