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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/, /mɛˈlɪflu.əs/


mellifluous (comparative more mellifluous, superlative most mellifluous)

  1. Flowing like honey.
  2. (figuratively) Sweet, smooth and musical; pleasant to hear (generally used of a person's voice, tone or writing style).
    Synonyms: birdsweet, dulcet, euphonious, mellifluent
    • 1671, John Milton, Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: [] J. M[acock] for John Starkey [], OCLC 228732398:
      [] 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 May 19, Rachel Aroesti, “Richard Ashcroft: These People review”, in The Guardian[1]:
      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.
    • 2017 October 20, Ben Beaumont-Thomas, “In dreams: Roy Orbison hologram to embark on UK tour in 2018”, in The Guardian[2]:
      His iconic look, mellifluous croon and timeless songwriting means that he retains a strong fanbase.

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