mel·​o·​dy ˈme-lə-dē How to pronounce melody (audio)
plural melodies
: a sweet or agreeable succession or arrangement of sounds
whilst all the winds with melody are ringingP. B. Shelley
: 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 chanterPat Cahill
melodic adjective
melodically adverb

Example Sentences

He wrote a piece that includes some beautiful melodies. a composer known for his love of melody He sang a few old melodies.
Recent Examples on the Web McCartney composed the entire melody for the song in a dream one night in his room which was in the home of Jane Asher's parents in London. John Long,, 26 Jan. 2023 DeStefano established a pulsing foundation, alternating — sometimes combining — guitar, programmed keyboards and/or banjo to evolve the sound underneath the melody even as the beat moved forward. Tom Roland, Billboard, 24 Jan. 2023 Thankfully, that tide could be turning: A few new cuts find Future embracing the vulnerability and ear for melody that has been largely absent from his music in recent years. Chris Kelly, Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2023 The Syracuse native can stand bar for bar with anyone, but his mic presence radiates a charisma and a knack for melody that sets him apart from the gritty street rappers casual fans may lump him with. Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone, 16 Jan. 2023 Beck offers a stately, fanfare-like guitar hook after the first verse, then engages Stewart more and more: taking over the melody with note-bending variations, surging up from below, goading Stewart to shout and leap into falsetto. Jon Pareles, New York Times, 12 Jan. 2023 Gradually, the melody is overwhelmed by the increasingly harsh guitar work, feedback, and Eno’s electronically manipulated noise, a combination far removed from the Rachmaninov that accompanies Brief Encounter’s terribly decent torment. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 1 Jan. 2023 Penned by Aarón Martinez, the heartbreak ballad — backed by a romantic norteño melody and a weeping accordion — narrates the story of a man who’s had one too many drinks and drunk-dialed his ex. Jessica Roiz, Billboard, 13 Jan. 2023 For all his speed and dexterity, Beck never underestimated the beauty of a sustained melody. Jon Pareles, New York Times, 12 Jan. 2023 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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near melody

Cite this Entry

“Melody.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


mel·​o·​dy ˈmel-əd-ē How to pronounce melody (audio)
plural melodies
: a pleasing succession of sounds
: a series of musical tones arranged to give a pleasing effect
: the leading part in a musical composition involving harmony

More from Merriam-Webster on melody

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?