n. pl. mel·o·dies
1. A pleasing succession or arrangement of sounds.
2. Musical quality: the melody of verse.
a. A rhythmically organized sequence of single tones so related to one another as to make up a particular phrase or idea.
b. Structure with respect to the arrangement of single notes in succession.
c. The leading part or the air in a composition with accompaniment.
4. A poem suitable for setting to music or singing.
[Middle English melodie, from Old French, from Late Latin melōdia, from Greek melōidiā, singing, choral song : melos, tune + aoidē, song; see wed-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus