late 14c., from O.Fr. melon, from M.L. melonem (nom. melo), from L. melopeponem, a kind of pumpkin, from Gk. melopepon "gourd-apple" (name for several kinds of gourds bearing sweet fruit), from melon "apple" (from PIE source attested in Hittite mahla- "grapevine, branch") + pepon, a kind of gourd, noun use of pepon "ripe." In Gk., melon "apple" was used in a generic way for all foreign fruits.