• synonyms


  1. Classical Mythology. an Athenian princess who was raped by her brother-in-law Tereus and was subsequently avenged and transformed into a nightingale.
  2. (lowercase) philomel.
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or phil·o·me·la

[fil-uh-mel or fil-uh-mee-luh]
noun Literary.
  1. the nightingale.
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Origin of philomel

1350–1400; earlier Philomele, Philomela (< Middle French philomèle) < Latin Philomēla < Greek Philómēla Philomela; replacing Middle English Philomene < Medieval Latin Philomēna, dissimilated variant of Philomēla
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for philomela

Historical Examples

  • As the boat regained her speed, Philomela Brooks approached him.

    Philo Gubb Correspondence-School Detective

    Ellis Parker Butler

  • Thereupon Procne became a swallow, and Philomela a nightingale.

  • The Philomela as made by Jardine is a melodia with two mouths.

  • Why, Philomela, are you complaining of the cruelty of Tereus, the Ismarian tyrant?

  • The least eccentric orbit in the group is that of Philomela ; the most eccentric that of thra .

    The Asteroids

    Daniel Kirkwood

British Dictionary definitions for philomela


  1. Greek myth an Athenian princess, who was raped and had her tongue cut out by her brother-in-law Tereus, and subsequently was transformed into a nightingaleSee Procne
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philomela (ˌfɪləʊˈmiːlə)

  1. poetic names for a nightingale
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Word Origin

C14 philomene, via Medieval Latin from Latin philomēla, from Greek
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

Word Origin and History for philomela



"nightingale," late 14c., from Greek Philomela, poetic name of the nightingale, in mythology the daughter of Pandion, transformed into a nightingale; probably literally "lover of song," from philos "loving" + melos "a tune, song;" but perhaps "lover of apples" (Greek mela). In the myth, proper name of Pandion's daughter, who was turned into a nightingale (Ovid).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper