GRE Vocabulary – Mellifluous


From Greek Mythology, Pan, the god of the wild, was often depicted playing the pipe, whose sound was described as piercing, sweet, and mellifluous.

mel·lif·lu·ous məˈliflo͞oəs/ adjective

Mellifluous is an adjective that means “having a smooth, rich flow.” It is often used to describe a person’s voice or the flow of a sentence.

The origins of mellifluous are Latin –the Latin words mell and fluere mean honey and to flow, respectively. Putting them together, we get “to flow as honey.” True to its origins, the word mellifluous often connotes a sweetness and pleasantness.

Sample Sentence

The highlight of Jake’s evening was hearing his daughter’s mellifluous voice resonating throughout the stadium as she sang the national anthem before the big game.

In this sentence, the word mellifluous is being used to describe a girl’s voice. There are a couple context clues in this sentence that can help you understand the positive connotation of the word mellifluous. The first is that hearing his daughter’s voice was “the highlight” of Jake’s evening. One can assume that, had her voice not been beautiful and sweet, hearing her sing would not have been a “highlight.” The other is a bit of a stretch, but not unreasonable – it’s safe to assume that Jake’s daughter has a lovely voice, otherwise she would not have been chosen to sing the national anthem before a a big game in front of a stadium audience.

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