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From euphonical +‎ -ous (suffix forming adjectives denoting possession or presence of a quality, commonly in abundance).[1] Euphonical is derived from euphonic +‎ -al (suffix forming adjectives with the sense ‘of or pertaining to’);[2] with euphonic from euphony +‎ -ic (suffix forming adjectives with the sense ‘of or pertaining to’),[3] and euphony borrowed from French euphonie, from Ancient Greek εὐφωνία (euphōnía), from εὐ- (eu-, prefix meaning ‘good, well’) + φωνή (phōnḗ, sound; (human) voice; discourse, speech) (from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeh₂- (to say, speak)) + -ῐ́ᾱ (-íā, suffix forming feminine abstract nouns).[4]



euphonious (comparative more euphonious, superlative most euphonious)

  1. Of sounds, especially speech: demonstrating or possessing euphony; agreeable to the ear; pleasant-sounding.
    Synonyms: (obsolete) euphonic, (archaic) euphonical, euphonous, mellifluous, sonorous; see also Thesaurus:euphonious
    Antonyms: cacophonous, noneuphonious, uneuphonious; see also Thesaurus:cacophonous
    Coordinate term: symphonious
    • 1775, Joel Collier [pseudonym; George Veal], Musical Travels in England. [], 3rd edition, London: [] G. Kearsly, [], →OCLC, page 5:
      Before I ſet forward on my travels, I choſe to change my name from Collier to Coglioni or Collioni, as more euphonious; []
    • 1797 December, “Art. XIV. The Vales of Wever, a Loco-descriptive Poem, Inscribed to the Rev. John Granville, of Calwich, Staffordshire. By J. Gisborne, Esq. 4to. pp. 88. 5s. Boards. Stockdale. 1797. [book review]”, in The Monthly Review; or, Literary Journal, Enlarged, volume XXIV, London: [] R[alph] Griffiths; and sold by T[homas] Becket, [], →OCLC, pages 434–435:
      We think it difficult to copy more successfully a model so curiously polished as the Botanic Garden; to assemble ideas more luxuriously elegant; to annex epithets more unexpectedly apposite: or to harmonize couplets more imitative and euphonious.
    • 1837 March, “The Autobiography of an Actress of Our Own Times. With Sketches of Her Contemporaries.”, in The Metropolitan Magazine, volume XVIII, number LXXI, London: Saunders and Otley, [], →OCLC, page 298:
      I know our theatrical managers, major and minor, are very particular in selecting euphonious titles for their melodramas, especially if on a domestic subject, such as "Bennet, the Butcher," "Davidge, the Dustman," "Harley, the Harper," "Vining, the Vintner." Why those very titles alone, by their tickling effect on the ear, would fill the pit and galleries of the Surrey, Victoria, or Adelphi theatres, for twelve consecutive months, if the pieces bearing those euphonious names were immediately produced.
    • 1840 April – 1841 November, Charles Dickens, “Chapter the Last”, in The Old Curiosity Shop. A Tale. [], volume II, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published 1841, →OCLC, page 220:
      After casting about for some time for a name which should be worthy of her, he decided in favour of Sophronia Sphynx, as being euphonious and genteel, and furthermore indicative of mystery.
    • 1857 February, W. H. Barnes, “Charms and Harms of Conversation”, in D[avis] W[asgatt] Clark, editor, The Ladies’ Repository: A Monthly Periodical, Devoted to Literature and Religion, volume XVII, Cincinnati, Oh.: L. Swormstedt and A. Poe;  [], →OCLC, page 66, column 1:
      Many persons, hoping to appear polite, deprive their words of the letter "r," which gives a forcible and euphonious ending to many English words and syllables. This is a peculiarity of the cockney dialect, spoken by the lowest classes in the city of London, but on being transported across the Atlantic it is adopted by many who would be thought refined.
    • a. 1860 (date written), Washington Irving, “National Nomenclature”, in Wolfert’s Roost, and Miscellanies (Lovell’s Library; volume 6, number 321), New York, N.Y.: John W. Lovell, Company, [], published 21 December 1883, →OCLC, page 71:
      I have, on a former occasion, suggested the expediency of searching out the original Indian names of places, and wherever they are striking and euphonious, and those by which they have been superseded are glaringly objectionable, to restore them. They would have the merit of originality, and of belonging to the country; and they would remain as reliques of the native lords of the soil, when every other vestige had disappeared.
    • 1892, Richard Dowling, “The Deserted House”, in Catmur’s Caves or The Quality of Mercy, London, Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, →OCLC, page 223:
      "My name is Catmur." / "A bad name, a name I don't like at all." / "Why?" / "Oh, because it has a bad sound. It isn't a bit euphonious, and is no excuse in the world for your kicking up such a row, you know. That row was not euphonious either, you know. There's nothing euphonious about you. What do you want? Why don't you go away?"
    • 1893 January, James Mooney, W[illia]m H. Babcock, W[illiam] Hallett Phillips, W[illiam] H[enry] Holmes, Lester F[rank] Ward, “Geographic Nomenclature of the District of Columbia. A Report.”, in The American Anthropologist, volume VI, number 1, Washington, D.C.: Anthropological Society of Washington; Judd & Detweiler, [], →ISSN, →OCLC, page 44:
      In every case the geographic name should be euphonious, and not too long, and where it has a meaning the idea conveyed should be pleasant and appropriate. To be most euphonious a name should consist of a regular succession of vowel and consonant or liquid sounds without redundancy or awkward combinations of either; the elemental sounds themselves should be euphonious, and in words of more than two syllables the accent, as a rule, should fall on the last syllable or the penult. [] Botanic and biologic terms from the Latin and Greek are almost always euphonious and may appropriately be used when not too long.
    • 1905 February 1, “Letter from Paris. Wagner at Both Opera Houses.”, in The Monthly Musical Record, volume XXXV, number 410, London: Augener Limited, [], →OCLC, page 33, column 1:
      In this opera [Tristan und Isolde (composed 1857–1859)] [Richard] Wagner has not only created a special euphonious and polyphonic atmosphere, but through the peculiar meaning of certain expressive sounds has produced effects never heard before, which through a magic emotion all over the work.
    • 1910, W[alter] W[illiam] Strickland, “World Empire without War. Addressed to the Merchant Princes and Chambers of Commerce of the British Empire.”, in The Smuggler’s Dog and Other Essays in Literature and Science, London: Geo[rge] Standring, [], →OCLC, page 78:
      By strictly adhering to the correct grammatical form and, perhaps, gradually extending its use, we could all help to render our language more euphonious and so more attractive to foreigners.
    • 2000, Chrys C. Caragounis, “Dionysios Halikarnasseus, the Art of Composition and the Apostle Paul”, in Stanley E. Porter, Matthew Brook O’Donnell, Wendy J. Porter, editors, Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, volume 1, Sheffield, South Yorkshire: Sheffield Phoenix Press, published 2004, →ISBN, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 49:
      [Aelius] Dionysios speaks with regards to melody in terms of using the most euphonious and smooth letters, blending the rough-sounding letters and syllables with their smooth-sounding counterparts, short with long syllables, etc.
    • 2011, John Jeremiah Sullivan, “La·hwi·ne·ski: Career of an Eccentric Naturalist”, in Pulphead: Essays, New York, N.Y.: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, →ISBN, page 202:
      Often when he approaches this question you can watch him—with a sudden flourish of meaningless, euphonious adjectives—trace a broken silhouette around the answer, as when he talks about "the natural evolution of spontaneous vegetable life exerted in wisdom thro' ages" []
    • 2020, Jenefer Robinson, “Style and Personality in the Literary Work”, in Steven M. Cahn, Stephanie Ross, Sandra Shapshay, editors, Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology, 2nd edition, Hoboken, N.J., Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley, →ISBN, page 624, column 1:
      Intuitively, there could be a piece of characterless prose which nevertheless happens to be euphonious, i.e., the words it contains make a pleasing musical sound. Imagine, for example, an incompetent Freshman English paper in which the ideas are unclearly expressed, the sentence structure confused and the choice of words unimaginative. [] Yet, quite by chance, the ill-chosen words are euphonious: l's, m's and n's predominate, there are only a few plosives or fricatives, and the vowel sounds fit together in a melodious way. To say that this work is in a "euphonious style," however, is at best misleading, since intuitively it is not in a style at all.

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  1. ^ euphonious, adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2018; euphonious, adj.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  2. ^ euphonical, adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2018.
  3. ^ euphonic, adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2019; euphonic, adj.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  4. ^ Compare euphony, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2020; euphony, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

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