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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 a similar meaning.


  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /məˈlɪflu.əs/, IPA(key): /mɛˈlɪflu.əs/


mellifluous (comparative more mellifluous, superlative most mellifluous)

  1. Flowing like honey.
    • 1671: Paradise Regained by John Milton
      Though in heaven the trees / Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines / Yield nectar; though from off the boughs each morn / We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground / Cover'd with pearly grain...
  2. Sweet, smooth and musical; pleasant to hear (generally used of a person's voice, tone or writing style).
    • 1671: Paradise Regained by John Milton
      ...Socrates...Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth / Mellifluous streams that water'd all the schools / Of Academicks old and new...
    • 1853: Sir Egerton Brydges, "Life of Milton"
      No verses can be more mellifluous than Petrarch's: something of this will perhaps be attributed to the softness of the Italian language; but the English tongue is also capable of it, however obstinately Johnson may have pronounced otherwise.
    • 2016: "Richard Ashcroft: These People review – nothing brutal from a mellifluous foghorn" by Rachel Aroesti
      Certainly, he returns explicitly to the sound of Urban Hymns on his fourth solo album: neat, sad strings, unhurried percussion and his mellifluous foghorn of a voice.


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