Definition of mellow in English:



  • 1(especially of sound, taste, and color) pleasantly smooth or soft; free from harshness.

    ‘she was hypnotized by the mellow tone of his voice’
    ‘slow cooking gives the dish a sweet, mellow flavor’
    • ‘They gave their most sensitive performances in the carols which displayed a good blend, excellent words, ringing soprano tone in the upper register and a mellow sound from the tenors and basses.’
    • ‘Even the period instruments used are distinguished by their mellow sound.’
    • ‘Driving into work, with the car heating turned up and some mellow sounds on the stereo, I could almost kid myself that it was summer.’
    • ‘The mellow flavour of spring onions make them just as adaptable as regular yellow or white onions, but without the tears.’
    • ‘Anejo is Tequila aged in oak barrels where it acquires its mellow golden colour.’
    • ‘I've always thought that the sweet, mellow taste of traditional cream is a perfect match for warm apple desserts.’
    • ‘It is a washed curd cheese with a mellow taste that's suitable for any time of the day and is available at the farm gate or through Carlow Farmers' Market.’
    • ‘The wealth of different brick colours - ranging from mellow old stocks to vibrant red London multis - ensures each fireplace is unique and not a clone of its neighbour.’
    • ‘The combination of oligofructose with high intensity sweeteners can lead to a mellow aftertaste and is more soluble than sucrose.’
    • ‘The bulky instrument had a very deep, mellow sound that the troubadour used to a good effect in her songs.’
    • ‘The music began with the soft, mellow sounds of a wind instrument, paving a way for Valdis's dance to begin.’
    • ‘The cold, wet rains of a northern spring were no stranger to him, but that didn't mean he enjoyed them, and he savored the clean, mellow taste of the beer as he soaked up the warmth.’
    • ‘Natalie was joined by the tenor Matthew Beale, whose very attractive, mellow sound combined attractively with solo flute, cellos and violins.’
    • ‘This smooth, mellow mouthful delivers flavours of dried red fruits, apples, vanilla and oak.’
    • ‘As she recalled, his voice was educated and had a pleasant, mellow tone.’
    • ‘Most important of all are good tomatoes: their ample juices supply enough liquid to moisten the stew and their tart flavour balances the mellow sweetness of the other vegetables.’
    • ‘Equally fascinating are the churches with their mellow honey coloured facades that glow warm in the sun.’
    • ‘The fruit has a sweet, mellow and warm flavour that goes well with other fruit in compotes or fruit salads.’
    • ‘With its mellow purples, blues, dazzling yellows and reds set in flawless gold the collection is all set to lure you into buying it.’
    • ‘Nutmeg is as popular a spice for savoury dishes as sweet, lending a mellow flavour to rice puddings, sausages and mash, baked custards and fruit cake.’
    dulcet, sweet-sounding, tuneful, euphonious, lyric, melodious, mellifluous
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    1. 1.1archaic (of fruit) ripe, soft, sweet, and juicy.
      ‘a dish of mellow apples’
      • ‘Peaches sold in here are generally large, juicy, sweet, mellow, scrumptious, delicious, you get the idea.’
      • ‘Moist and translucent, it tastes like a mellow orange with a hint of lemon.’
      • ‘The cliched image of autumn is that it is a fine season of mellow fruits, golden leaves and cool, bracing sunny days, but this has little bearing on the lives of anyone who lives in a town or city.’
      ripe, mature, soft, lush, juicy, tender, luscious, sweet, full-flavoured, flavoursome
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    2. 1.2(of wine) well-matured and smooth.
      ‘delicious, mellow, ripe, fruity wines’
      • ‘This is a grape variety which has excellent resistance to disease and rot, but which makes Cabernet Sauvignon look rather mellow.’
      • ‘Even the Pinot Noir sometimes seemed more mellow, which some tasters liked.’
      • ‘The old cafes are still local favorites, but now it's also possible to watch a dusky red sunset filtered through a mellow golden Chardonnay at several very good restaurants.’
      • ‘They want to know what makes a particular craft beer pleasingly bitter, why the wine they're drinking is so mellow, what gives their whiskey a smoky flavor.’
      • ‘Soft tannins and lots of fruit make this quite an unusual and mellow Chianti.’
      • ‘He chose a Barbaresco wine 1995 (Italian red, naturally), a wonderfully mellow and aromatic wine which, if you can afford it, is excellent.’
      • ‘When tannins mellow with age, they sweeten up, helping wine to step up to the next level of complexity.’
      • ‘I'm making do with a large glass of rather mellow Cabernet Sauvignon and some very yummy soup my flatmate has made out of everything in our fridge.’
      • ‘The rest of us enjoyed a well-earned meal and some of that very mellow Merlot.’
      • ‘It's slightly sweet and surprisingly mellow considering the high alcohol content.’
      seasoned, conditioned, mature, aged, old
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  • 2(of a person's character) softened or matured by age or experience.

    ‘a more mellow personality’
    • ‘His reflexes seemed a shade slower than his days in Toronto, and his mellow personality differed from Hasek's intense persona.’
    • ‘The big surprise, of course, was that guy from Japan: Ichiro Suzuki, who captured the fans of two nations with his skillful play and mellow personality.’
    • ‘He was a mellow person who was rarely, if ever, angry no matter what she pulled.’
    • ‘What an apt and beautiful description of the most lovely of seasons in its mellow maturity.’
    • ‘His screen roles did mellow with age and he played several dad characters, the most popular among them being Kajol's father in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge.’
    • ‘Have someone read my chakra and tell me, ‘You're an incredibly complex and awesome person with a substantially mellow aura.’’
    • ‘He seems considerably more mellow to me today than he did then and still a man of impeccable integrity.’
    • ‘That had something to do with Mehta's commanding, yet mellow, personality, but it also had a lot to do with the orchestra's professionalism.’
    • ‘His mellow wit and conciliatory temperament have endeared him to all of us.’
    • ‘And I had seen Jode's mellow personality melt into passion at simply a glance from Cif.’
    • ‘That theory about people getting more mellow as they grow older would definitely stand up here, in Montreal institution Leonard Cohen's long-awaited album Ten New Songs.’
    easy-going, tolerant, amicable, amiable, warm-hearted, warm, sympathetic, good-natured, affable, gracious, gentle, pleasant, kindly, kind-hearted
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    1. 2.1Relaxed and good-humored.
      ‘Jean was feeling mellow’
      • ‘But it was so good while it lasted and it was a really mellow breakup so, some day, we may play together again, I don't know.’
      • ‘This makes people who are already mellow even mellower and contributes to a decline in the quality of their work.’
      • ‘Normally, people are pretty mellow, and respectful of one another.’
      • ‘He hasn't a charismatic figure or a flamboyant style, but he is definitely mild, modest and mellow.’
      • ‘Usually she was mellow and carefree in his presence.’
      • ‘We scientists are usually rather mellow, undemanding folk.’
      • ‘Lead singer Eef Barzelay got married and had a baby, so he's a pretty mellow, happy guy.’
      • ‘For a break from his rigorous five-time weekly training routine, he indulges in mellow dancing with the Silver Shadow Dancers.’
      • ‘Beneath her stern countenance, Asma Jahangir is a mellow person with extremely unpretentious and simple likes and dislikes.’
      • ‘I had to learn English to follow the lyrics and had to adapt the relaxed, mellow jazz moves to my ballet technique.’
      • ‘There's a very mellow laid back ambience, the food is great, and you feel really, really healthy.’
      • ‘I let her plead her case for awhile, knowing that she could get as dramatic as Aya on her slightly mellow days.’
      • ‘They were of course, all mellow and happy, stretching and yawning in the sunshine.’
      • ‘About half the time, the songs are laid-back - mellow even - and meander casually along with long, rich, drawn-out horn solos and harmonies.’
      • ‘So it obviously makes sense to try to be mellow and cheerful behind the wheel.’
      • ‘He was usually an extremely calm and mellow person who didn't get irritated very easily.’
      • ‘Californians are renowned for a character as mellow as their climate, so it is not often that they get annoyed.’
      • ‘Unlike Cailie, she has a fairly mellow personality, and is quite laid back.’
      • ‘This mindset mixed with her insomnia-induced delirium into a mellow state of tranquil patience.’
      • ‘He seems like such a mellow person and I assume he gets good grades.’
      relaxed, even-tempered, equable, placid, mild, happy-go-lucky, serene, blithe, carefree, free and easy, nonchalant, insouciant, unruffled, unworried, untroubled, imperturbable, unexcitable
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    2. 2.2informal Relaxed and cheerful through being slightly drunk.
      ‘everybody got very mellow and slept well’
      • ‘When you drink, do you get more mellow or obnoxious?’
      • ‘Anyhow, we quickly mellowed out with a bottle of the lowest teen-priced wine on a deep and scuffed settee and talked about holidays and every kind of rubbish.’
      genial, jovial, jolly, cheerful, happy, merry
      tipsy, slightly drunk, full of well-being
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  • 3(of earth) rich and loamy.

    • ‘In making a Flower Bed, see that the ground is well drained; that the subsoil is deep; that the land is in a mellow and friable condition, and that it is rich.’
    • ‘Well enriched, mellow loam, deeply dug or plowed, is best suited to the requirements of Carrots.’


  • Make or become mellow.

    [with object] ‘getting older does mellow the hard edges around the anger’
    [no object] ‘fuller-flavored whiskeys mellow with wood maturation’
    informal ‘I need to mellow out, I need to calm down’
    • ‘Slowly, however, she mellows and begins to consider that she may have misjudged DeVere, who seems to have hidden depths and, after all, is rather dashing.’
    • ‘It's nice to know that he's mellowing in his old age.’
    • ‘One thing that has probably mellowed only a little with age is Lloyd's famously sharp tongue and his impatience with incompetence or poor thinking.’
    • ‘The photograph that Amma, the children and I chose was that of a handsome but mellowed thirty-five-year-old.’
    • ‘Over time the fear has mellowed into a moderate worry.’
    • ‘Later as the evening mellows, she talks some more of her work and family.’
    • ‘A stone cross marks the most sacred point of the pass, the landscape beyond mellowing markedly from jagged, icy summits to rolling undulations.’
    • ‘Perhaps it would be a good thing that I've matured and mellowed some, I don't know.’
    • ‘I have had a Madras-strength sore throat for the last three days but it is now mellowing.’
    • ‘One report states that you have matured and mellowed with age and that your attitude has changed so that you now look at life in a better view and appear relaxed and settled.’
    • ‘It seems he hasn't mellowed much with the passing of the years.’
    • ‘This time he is sitting smiling, saying he has mellowed.’
    • ‘The ‘bike mania’, for most men, begins at a very early age and grows, mellows and at last withers away.’
    • ‘It's clear that age hasn't mellowed him, only sharpened his observations.’
    • ‘But I've mellowed with age and, sometimes, I've even got a bit of spare cash instead of buttons in my purse nowadays.’
    • ‘His expression has mellowed and he listens calmly as I begin to tell my story.’
    • ‘And here he is telling everyone that experience, and the effects of the triple heart bypass he underwent a decade ago, have mellowed him.’
    • ‘At least, this used to be his attitude: time has mellowed him.’
    • ‘Now on medication which keeps his infamous temper in check, Souness says he has matured, if not actually mellowed.’
    • ‘But during the course of their journey the tension between the two mellows as they begin to learn something about each other's background and hopes for the future.’
    condition, season, age, improve
    relax, calm, settle, mature, improve
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Late Middle English (in the sense (of fruit) ripe, soft, sweet, and juicy): perhaps from attributive use of Old English melu, melw- (see meal). The verb dates from the late 16th century.