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Origin of mellow

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English mel(o)we, alteration (perhaps by dissimilation, in phrase meruw fruit) of Middle English meruw,Old English meru “soft”

synonym study for mellow

1. See ripe.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does mellow mean?

Mellow means soft, sweet, and full of flavor, usually in reference to ripe fruits.

Mellow can also mean well matured, especially in reference to wine.

Mellow can also mean soft and rich, usually in reference to sound, color, or musical tone.

And mellow can describe a mild and pleasant intoxication or high.

You’ll also see mellow used in reference to people. A mellow person is usually easy-going and relaxed. If they’ve mellowed over time, they’ve become more relaxed.

In slang, mellow means a mood or atmosphere of relaxation. You might hear something like “Don’t harsh my mellow,” meaning “Don’t spoil my good mood.”

Example: Luis became much more mellow after they left their stressful job.

Where does mellow come from?

The first records of the term mellow come from around the early 1400s. It ultimately comes from the Old English word meru, meaning “soft.”

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to mellow?

  • mellowly (adverb)
  • mellowness (noun)
  • overmellow (adjective)
  • unmellowed (adjective)

What are some synonyms for mellow?

What are some words that often get used in discussing mellow?

How is mellow used in real life?

Mellow is a common word used to describe something that is pleasantly agreeable in some way.

Try using mellow!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of mellow?

A. savory
B. soft
C. young
D. sweet

How to use mellow in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mellow

/ (ˈmɛləʊ) /

to make or become mellow; soften; mature
(foll by out) to become calm and relaxed or (esp of a drug) to have a calming or relaxing effect on (someone)

Derived forms of mellow

mellowly, adverbmellowness, noun

Word Origin for mellow

C15: perhaps from Old English meru soft (as through ripeness)
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