a. Any of various vines of the family Cucurbitaceae, especially Cucumis melo or Citrullus lanatus, widely cultivated for their edible fruit.
b. The fruit of any of these plants, having a hard rind and juicy flesh.
2. A fatty structure in the forehead of cetaceans, especially the toothed whales, thought to be used in the production of high-frequency sounds.
3. melons Vulgar Slang A woman's breasts.
[Middle English, from Middle French, from Old French, from Late Latin mēlō, mēlōn-, short for Latin mēlopepō, from Greek mēlopepōn : mēlon, apple + pepōn, gourd.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.