Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Flowing with sweetness or honey.
  • adj. Smooth and sweet: "polite and cordial, with a mellifluous, well-educated voice” ( H.W. Crocker III).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Flowing like honey.
  • adj. Sweet and smooth; generally used of a person's voice, tone or writing style.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Flowing as with honey; smooth; flowing sweetly or smoothly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Flowing or dropping like honey; hence, sweetly or smoothly flowing, especially in sound.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. pleasing to the ear

Etymologies

Middle English, from Late Latin mellifluus : Latin mel, mell-, honey; see melit- in Indo-European roots + Latin -fluus, flowing; see bhleu- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin mellifluus ("flowing like honey"), from mel ("honey") + fluō ("flow"). Compare superfluous and fluid, from same root, and with dulcet ("sweet speech"), alternative Latinate term with similar meaning. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • I had this word yesterday on my Word Of The Day app on my Nook Color.

    June 5, 2012

  • Mellifluous is an example of a word the fantasy of which has overtaken the reality. One imagines honeycomb as it is taken from the hive, dripping with the clear lightly coloured fluid and all the Marie Antoinette stuff, but she ain't going to recover refined honey, still less go out there with her protective suit and visor to harvest the comb from the hive. The fantasy is of a land overflowing with milk and honey, the reality is that these benefits have to be won by the labour of the beekeeper and the milkmaid. Little wonder that mellifluous is generally associated with the quality of the sound of music or of words, spoken or sung.

    December 7, 2011

  • (too) often used in Carnatic music album notes....

    November 22, 2011

  • In the parlance of our times, synaesthetic much?

    (Actually I find that description every bit as nauseating as the word, so... nice one!)

    November 20, 2009

  • I imagine this word to be undulating and waving gently, streaked a strange combination of light blue and light brown, surrounded by miniscule green and yellow squares.

    November 20, 2009

  • This word doesn't work. It never has. It's too ... too what? Too sweet? Too obvious? Too forced? Too tongue-tying? And the imagery it evokes is sticky, slow, and viscous-- sort of the opposite of what it wants to do.

    November 14, 2009

  • I found a reference to mellifluous in regard to the flow of the written word at Frog Princeps it is a blog:
    "The book rewards the reader with a mellifluous flow of language that will startle, intrigue and bewitch the reader."

    November 14, 2009

  • (smellifluous: Pleasing to the nose?)

    January 17, 2009

  • It is indeed.

    I always start singing the truffula song from The Lorax. However the hell you spell truffula...

    December 3, 2008

  • I always imagine the visual image of the word mellifluous to be a soft brown/chocolate wavy line, flowing genltly and quietly in/on a cream colored space.
    Mellifluous is a mellifluous word.

    December 3, 2008

  • mellifluous- i first became familiar with this word while reading june jordan. she used it eloquently, with great image and soul. she described a biblical land overflowing with milk and honey. the word is certainly a graceful and refreshing throwback to a chimerical land laced with sweet leche y miel.

    November 22, 2008

  • Similar in pattern, yes, I think is what I meant to imply by my question... I love the beauty of mellifluous and "picturesque" just doesn't compare. Perhaps I'm still on a hunt.

    September 25, 2008

  • Similar in pattern of derivation? Probably not. Similar in meaning, yes, but finding a word that means only "pleasing to the eye" and hasn't been broadened to include other senses (in both senses) is tough.

    How about beauteous or picturesque?

    September 24, 2008

  • Photogenic?

    September 24, 2008

  • Eye candy?

    September 24, 2008

  • Is there a visual equivalent to this word? I'd love to know it.

    September 24, 2008

  • honey should be included in the definition.
    this is an amazing word, almost an onomatopoeia.

    July 22, 2008

  • I am not as mellifluous as Sir John Betjeman.

    - Peter Reading, Opinions of the Press, from Fiction, 1979

    June 26, 2008

  • Mellifluous means pleasing to the ear

    April 28, 2008

  • See also grandiloquent/grandiloquence.
    Mellifluous grandiloquence is something else altogether!

    March 16, 2008

  • This was a favorite of the greatest orator I ever had the honor to learn from, Richard Sodikow, Speech & Debate Coach, The Bronx HS of Science. When he said it, he demonstrated just how well it flowed like honey past his lips.

    March 2, 2008

  • Honey doesn't flow much and creamed honey doesn't flow at all.

    December 19, 2007

  • smooth, sweet, feminine.

    describing a language?

    of greek origin(?)

    December 19, 2007

  • Doesn't it just flow! Great word

    April 19, 2007

  • mellifluous is such a great sounding word! ;-)

    March 26, 2007

  • Wonderful etymology: "flowing with honey." The word can be used in that literal sense, but the "metaphorical" sense (e.g. to describe someone's voice or movement) just works really nicely.

    January 14, 2007