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[melt] /mɛlt/
verb (used without object), melted, melted or molten, melting.
to become liquefied by warmth or heat, as ice, snow, butter, or metal.
to become liquid; dissolve:
Let the cough drop melt in your mouth.
to pass, dwindle, or fade gradually (often followed by away):
His fortune slowly melted away.
to pass, change, or blend gradually (often followed by into):
Night melted into day.
to become softened in feeling by pity, sympathy, love, or the like:
The tyrant's heart would not melt.
Obsolete. to be subdued or overwhelmed by sorrow, dismay, etc.
verb (used with object), melted, melted or molten, melting.
to reduce to a liquid state by warmth or heat; fuse:
Fire melts ice.
to cause to pass away or fade.
to cause to pass, change, or blend gradually.
to soften in feeling, as a person or the heart.
the act or process of melting; state of being melted.
something that is melted.
a quantity melted at one time.
a sandwich or other dish topped with melted cheese:
a tuna melt.
Origin of melt1
before 900; Middle English melten, Old English meltan (intransitive), m(i)elten (transitive) to melt, digest; cognate with Old Norse melta to digest, Greek méldein to melt
Related forms
meltable, adjective
meltability, noun
meltingly, adverb
meltingness, noun
nonmeltable, adjective
nonmelting, adjective
unmeltable, adjective
unmelted, adjective
unmelting, adjective
Can be confused
1. Melt, dissolve, fuse, thaw imply reducing a solid substance to a liquid state. To melt is to bring a solid to a liquid condition by the agency of heat: to melt butter. Dissolve, though sometimes used interchangeably with melt, applies to a different process, depending upon the fact that certain solids, placed in certain liquids, distribute their particles throughout the liquids: A greater number of solids can be dissolved in water and in alcohol than in any other liquids. To fuse is to subject a solid (usually a metal) to a very high temperature; it applies especially to melting or blending metals together: Bell metal is made by fusing copper and tin. To thaw is to restore a frozen substance to its normal (liquid, semiliquid, or more soft and pliable) state by raising its temperature above the freezing point: Sunshine will thaw ice in a lake. 4. dwindle. 10. gentle, mollify, relax. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for melting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Gypsy showed signs of melting, whinnying softly and forgivingly.

  • The sun was now well up in the sky, and the snow was melting.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • For many months of the year the only water they have is obtained by melting snow or ice.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
  • The mist was melting into a yellowish drizzle, befouling the muddy streets.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • The heat was melting the snow on her hair and clothes, and she was dripping.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for melting


verb melts, melting, melted, melted, molten (ˈməʊltən)
to liquefy (a solid) or (of a solid) to become liquefied, as a result of the action of heat
to become or make liquid; dissolve: cakes that melt in the mouth
(often foll by away) to disappear; fade
(foll by down) to melt (metal scrap) for reuse
(often foll by into) to blend or cause to blend gradually
to make or become emotional or sentimental; soften
the act or process of melting
something melted or an amount melted
Derived Forms
meltable, adjective
meltability, noun
melter, noun
meltingly, adverb
meltingness, noun
Word Origin
Old English meltan to digest; related to Old Norse melta to malt (beer), digest, Greek meldein to melt
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for melting



Old English meltan "become liquid, consume by fire, burn up" (class III strong verb; past tense mealt, past participle molten), from Proto-Germanic *meltanan; fused with Old English gemæltan (Anglian), gemyltan (West Saxon) "make liquid," from Proto-Germanic *gamaltijanan (cf. Old Norse melta "to digest"), both from PIE *meldh-, (cf. Sanskrit mrduh "soft, mild," Greek meldein "to melt, make liquid," Latin mollis "soft, mild"), from root *mel- "soft," with derivatives referring to soft or softened (especially ground) materials (see mild). Figurative use by c.1200. Related: Melted; melting.

Of food, to melt in (one's) mouth is from 1690s. Melting pot is from 1540s; figurative use from 1855; popularized with reference to America by play "The Melting Pot" by Israel Zangwill (1908).



1854, "molten metal," from melt (v.). In reference to a type of sandwich topped by melted cheese, 1980, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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melting in Science
To change from a solid to a liquid state by heating or being heated with sufficient energy at the melting point. See also heat of fusion.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with melting


In addition to the idiom beginning with melt also see: butter wouldn't melt
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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