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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 unsimilar 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.


Related terms[edit]


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