Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for December 16, 2019 is:
mellifluous • muh-LIFF-luh-wus • adjective
1 : having a smooth rich flow
2 : filled with something (such as honey) that sweetens
“As you explore each room, you also hear a mellifluous voice-over uttering the relevant environmental facts and recommendations…. The 13,000-square-foot exhibition, which was designed with social media in mind, requires a free iPhone app to experience fully.” — Laurel Graeber, The New York Times, 23 Oct. 2019
“Her voice alone is a stunner, a mellifluous soprano, more delicate than her big sister’s powerhouse belt.” — Peter Larsen, The Orange County Register (Anaheim, California), 10 Nov. 2019
Did you know?
In Latin, mel means “honey” and fluere means “to flow.” Those two linguistic components flow smoothly together in mellifluus (from Late Latin) and mellyfluous (from Middle English), the ancestors of mellifluous. The adjective these days typically applies to sound, as it has for centuries. In 1671, for example, poet John Milton wrote in Paradise Regained of the “Wisest of men; from whose mouth issu’d forth Mellifluous streams.” But mellifluous can also be used of flavor, as when wine critics Eric Asimov and Florence Fabricant used it to describe pinot grigio in the 2014 book Wine With Food: “Most pinot grigios give many people exactly what they want: a mellifluous, easy-to-pronounce wine that can be ordered without fear of embarrassment and that is at the least cold, refreshing, and for the most part cheap.”