Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Soft, sweet, juicy, and full-flavored because of ripeness.
  • adjective Suggesting softness or sweetness.
  • adjective Flavorful and mild or smooth, as from being properly matured.
  • adjective Soft and pleasant; not harsh.
  • adjective Gentle and understanding, especially from being mature or experienced.
  • adjective Relaxed and unhurried; easygoing.
  • adjective Slang Slightly and pleasantly intoxicated.
  • adjective Moist, rich, soft, and loamy. Used of soil.
  • transitive & intransitive verb To make or become mellow.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Soft, especially from ripeness; easily yielding to pressure: as, a mellow peach.
  • Soft and friable, as earth; loamy.
  • Soft, rich, or delicate to the touch, eye, ear, palate, etc., as color, sound, flavor, and the like.
  • Having the character or appearance of maturity; showing ripeness; of ripe age or quality; perfected; matured.
  • Softened or matured by length of years; toned down by the lapse of time; kindly disposed; good-humored; genial; jovial.
  • Rendered good-humored or genial by liquor; somewhat under the influence of liquor; half-tipsy.
  • Of sounds, soft and rich; characterized by many and well-balanced overtones.
  • To ripen; bring to maturity; soften by ripeness or age; give richness, flavor, or delicacy to.
  • To soften; pulverize; make friable: as, earth is mellowed by frost.
  • To soften in character; render more perfect or more agreeable; tone or smooth down; mature; improve.
  • To become soft; be ripened, matured, or brought to perfection.
  • To soften in character; become toned down.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Soft or tender by reason of ripeness; having a tender pulp.
  • adjective Easily worked or penetrated; not hard or rigid.
  • adjective Not coarse, rough, or harsh; subdued; soft; rich; delicate; -- said of sound, color, flavor, style, etc.
  • adjective Well matured; softened by years; genial; jovial.
  • adjective Warmed by liquor; slightly intoxicated.
  • intransitive verb To become mellow.
  • transitive verb To make mellow.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Soft or tender by reason of ripeness; having a tender pulp; as, a mellow apple.
  • adjective Easily worked or penetrated; not hard or rigid; as, a mellow soil.
  • adjective Not coarse, rough, or harsh; subdued, soft, rich, delicate; -- said of sound, color, flavor, style, etc.
  • adjective Well matured; softened by years; genial; jovial.
  • adjective Relaxed; calm; easygoing; laid-back.
  • adjective Warmed by liquor, slightly intoxicated; or, stoned, high.
  • noun A relaxed mood.
  • verb intransitive To become mellow.
  • verb intransitive To relax or soften.

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

  • verb soften, make mellow
  • adverb (obsolete) in a mellow manner
  • adjective having attained to kindliness or gentleness through age and experience
  • adjective unhurried and relaxed
  • adjective having attained to kindliness or gentleness through age and experience
  • adjective having a full and pleasing flavor through proper aging
  • adjective slightly and pleasantly intoxicated from alcohol or a drug (especially marijuana)
  • verb become more relaxed, easygoing, or genial
  • verb make or grow (more) mellow

Etymologies

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

[Middle English melwe, perhaps from melowe, oblique case of mele, ground grain, meal; see meal.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English melowe, melwe ("soft, sweet, juicy"), variant of Middle English merow, merwe ("soft, tender"), from Old English meru, mearu ("tender, soft, callow, delicate, frail"), from Proto-Germanic *marwaz (“mellow”), from Proto-Indo-European *mer(w)- (“to rub, pack”). Cognate with Middle Dutch meru ("tender"), German mürbe ("tender, soft"), Old Norse meyrr ("tender") (whence Icelandic meyr ("tender")).

Examples

  • The amenities of life spring up only in mellow lands, where the sun is warm and the earth fat.

    CHAPTER 20

  • A little scrambling and tearing through vines soon brought the children down to the banks of a broad, rather shallow river, whose waters were of that lustrous yellow-brown which makes every stone gleam up from the bottom in mellow colors, like the tints through the varnish of an old picture.

    Oldtown Folks

  • Seriously, I don’t like the eye doc appointments at all … sorry your day was such a large adventure, sometimes mellow is better than certain types of excitement … on February 5, 2008 at 10: 51 am | Reply Deutlich omg. i could hardly finish reading this without LITERALLY squirming in my chair because ow ow ow and ew ew ew and aaaaaaahhhhh squicked! that’s what i am. eye docs and dentists?

    Dilated, deaf, and disoriented. «

  • Details came through, and in mellow passages, like the tender episodes of Stravinsky’s “Firebird” as performed by the brilliant young conductor Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the sound was warm and plush.

    London Journal: Second Thoughts on the New Acoustics - ArtsBeat Blog - NYTimes.com

  • Details came through, and in mellow passages, like the tender episodes of Stravinsky’s “Firebird” as performed by the brilliant young conductor Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the sound was warm and plush.

    London Journal: Second Thoughts on the New Acoustics - ArtsBeat Blog - NYTimes.com

  • Though it couldn't all be classified as mellow, I'll have to second Jens' Acid Jazz note; The Night Trains' "A Bad Trip" would seem to back this up.

    mellow funk instrumentals - Anil Dash

  • "Well, I'm damned if it isn't Waring Ridgway," called a mellow voice from across the gulch.

    Ridgway of Montana (Story of To-Day, in Which the Hero Is Also the Villain)

  • Its tone is described as mellow and extremely beautiful, but lacking in brilliancy.

    For Every Music Lover A Series of Practical Essays on Music

  • In each build the tone could be characterized as a mellow tone with good sustain and projection.

    Mandolin Cafe News

  • In each build the tone could be characterized as a mellow tone with good sustain and projection.

    Mandolin Cafe News

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