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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.



mellifluous (comparative more mellifluous, superlative most mellifluous)

  1. Flowing like honey.
  2. Sweet, smooth and musical; pleasant to hear (generally used of a person's voice, tone or writing style).
    • 1915, W.S. Maugham, "Of Human Bondage":
      "You should read Spanish," he said. "It is a noble tongue. It has not the mellifluousness of Italian, Italian is the language of tenors and organ-grinders, but it has grandeur: it does not ripple like a brook in a garden, but it surges tumultuous like a mighty river in flood."

Usage notes[edit]

Mellifluous (like honey) is more likely to be applied to a person’s writing style while dulcet (sweet) would only be appropriate for describing audible tone, voice or tenor.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.