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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from melody

melodic \ mə-​ˈlä-​dik How to pronounce melodic (audio) \ adjective
melodically \ mə-​ˈlä-​di-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce melodically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for melody


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web He and his five brothers grew up hearing their father sing cantorial and congregational melodies to thousands of people in the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Sergio Carmona,, "Levis JCC’s concert series to feature klezmer orchestra," 6 Sep. 2019 And veils, like fog, are to visual texture as notes are to a melody. Mark Feeney,, "Photography’s biggest stars are out in MFA’s ‘Viewpoints’ show," 15 Aug. 2019 Patty, the principal at a local kindergarten, was the lyricist, while Mildred wrote the melodies. Sarah Todd, Quartzy, "The necessary vulnerability of celebrating your birthday as an adult," 30 Aug. 2019 But these departures from the traditional melody don’t dismantle the anthem. Mark Clague, The Conversation, "Fifty years ago, Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock anthem expressed the hopes and fears of a nation," 14 Aug. 2019 At other times, the light-hearted release of Paris’ off-white streets are complemented by composer Alexandre Desplat’s melodies. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'An Officer and a Spy': Film Review | Venice 2019," 30 Aug. 2019 The songs, which both clock in at just over two minutes, incorporate minimal production, instead featuring gentle guitar melodies that showcase Hawke’s voice. Rachel Desantis,, "Ethan Hawke Proudly Cheers on Daughter Maya as She Releases Two 'Gorgeous' Debut Singles," 18 Aug. 2019 Sly and the Family Stone has managed to combine a happy-sounding melody line with an infectious and very danceable soul beat. New York Times, "Woodstock 1969: A Story Vastly Bigger Than Editors Realized," 9 Aug. 2019 This seven-member group will deliver a high-energy performance with their groovy horn, percussion and bass melodies. Author: Lauren Ellenbecker, Anchorage Daily News, "Salmonfest time: Headliners Jason Mraz, Ani DiFranco and Wookiefoot kick off annual music festival in Ninilchik," 1 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about melody

Statistics for melody

Last Updated

4 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for melody

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for melody


How to pronounce melody (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


not being in agreement or harmony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!